The Children's Rights Alliance for England and many other charities have agreed on what we think are the essential ingredients of a powerful Children's Rights Commissioner to promote and protect the rights of children and young people.
We have looked into what happens in other parts of the UK, as well as in other countries.
Here's some of the most important points:
- The Office of Children's Rights Commissioner is created by law to promote and protect the rights of children and young people.
- It is independent of government, political parties, non-governmental organisations (including children's charities) and other interest groups.
- Its top priority is to try and get children's rights fully put into practice - for all children and young people.
- A big part of this is to promote respect for children and young people as individual people with wishes, feelings and ideas and plans of their own.
- The Office of Children's Rights Commissioner should be able to decide how it tries to promote and protect children's rights, including through investigations that are backed up by strong powers - for example, to get information and to interview children and young people in private (though this wouldn't include family homes and, of course, children and young people would have to give their permission).
- The Office of Children's Rights Commissioner should be required by law to have direct contact with children and young people from many different backgrounds.
- It should tell the public - including children and young people - what it is trying to change for children's rights, how it spends its money, and what it has achieved.
- The Office of Children's Rights Commissioner should be able to assist individual children and young people when no-one else can help, and it should also help places like schools, hospitals, libraries and other public services have complaints procedures that are fair and straightforward for children and young people to use.
- The Office of Children's Rights Commissioner should be known by children and young people across the country. It will have a close relationship and strong influence with government and work with lots of different organisations: at the same time, it will have its own strong identity and reputation.