Unicef UK yesterday (20th November) hosted an all-day event, as part of their Child Rights Partners programme, which explored the use of a child rights-based approach as a tool for transforming policy and practice in public services.

The event was an opportunity for Local Authorities that are part of Unicef UK’s Child Rights Partners programme and experts in the field, to come together to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

The event, which was chaired by Children’s Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson, featured a series of talks, discussions and workshops looking at how to embed child rights principles in services for children leaving care, local child poverty strategies and local authority service design and commissioning. 

Launched in November 2013, the Child Rights Partners programme is grounded in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Over a period of three years, Unicef UK is working with six local authorities across the UK – Derry, Glasgow, Leeds, Neath Port Talbot, Newcastle and Tower Hamlets – to transform services for the most vulnerable, including children living in care and young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.

Anita Tiessen, Unicef UK Deputy Executive Director said: “We believe that putting children’s rights at the heart of local authority policy and practice can transform the way children and young people experience public services in this country. This event marked the first anniversary of our Child Rights Partners programme and has enabled us to share learnings from the pilot with Local Authorities before embarking on the next exciting phase of the programme.” 

Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England said: “It is very important for statutory bodies to uphold their commitment to children and young people, but also to live it out in their daily work, using the Convention as a guide for how to do this. Celebrations like today are vital but children’s rights cannot just be for enthusiasts – everyone needs to commit themselves to upholding the rights of children and young people.” 

Councillor Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People, Glasgow City Council, said: “This event was a fantastic opportunity for sharing and learning across local authorities on how child rights can transform services for all children and all communities.”

The event highlighted the urgency of translating child rights as enshrined in the Convention into real life experiences for children and young people in the UK. It drew attention to the potential of the Convention as a tool for improving outcomes for children and young people including the most vulnerable. The presentations and workshops explored practical ideas for making children’s rights part of local authority policy and practice, kick-starting the next phase of the innovative programme. 

The event was one of a number of activities taking place to make the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Children in schools around the country also took part in Outright, Unicef UK’s day of activities for Rights Respecting Schools (RRS) to celebrate the anniversary of the CRC. The Outright activities encouraged children to use their voice to influence the way rights are talked about and acted on in their communities. 

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Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact the UNICEF UK press office on 020 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Child Rights Partners programme

Child Rights Partners brings together Unicef UK and local government to put children’s rights at the heart of public services and ensure all children have the same opportunity to flourish. Over three years, Unicef UK is working in partnership with local authorities across the UK to transform services for the most vulnerable, including children experiencing poverty, children living in care and young people affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Together with our partners, we will demonstrate how putting children’s rights into action in public organisations can make a real difference to children’s lives. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk/child-rights-partners 

About UNICEF

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk