Why we work with local authorities

Child Rights Partners supports local authorities across the UK to put children’s rights at the heart of what they do.

We work directly with local government staff and their partners – such as local councillors, commissioning managers, social workers, early years professionals, and the voluntary sector workforce – to enable them to protect and fulfill children’s rights.

Local authorities play a vital role in children’s lives. They’re responsible for delivering and commissioning a range of public services that children and young people rely on. These can be universal ones, such as education, health and community planning, or targeted and specialist services for vulnerable children, such as protection from abuse and neglect (child protection), accommodation and care for children looked after by the state or interventions for children excluded from mainstream education. Children’s experiences of these services have a huge impact on their lives, both now and in the future. But all too often, these services are not built around their views and experiences and can feel disjointed and disconnected. Children and young people in vulnerable situations are even less likely to have their views heard and taken into account, leaving them in danger of becoming marginalised and falling through the cracks.

It would have helped if I was included in the discussions and decisions that professionals involved made for me. I would have been happier if I had a say and somebody asked me what would I like, where would I like to live. Even if professionals felt that they could not accommodate my wishes for whatever reason, I would feel that my wishes and feeling would be valued and I would feel listened to.
Children in Care and Care Leavers Survey 2015, Children’s Commissioner for England, July 2015

Through public services, local authorities and their partners safeguard and nurture the well-being of all children and young people in their community. By putting children’s rights at the core of their systems and practice, local authorities will be better equipped to face current challenges and ensure better outcomes for children and young people.

With a child rights-based approach, local authorities and their partners will be able to work with and for children in a more responsive, collaborative and empowering way. Children will know what services are available, experience more connected services and understand how to access and navigate the often complex systems. Children will have a meaningful say in any actions and decisions that affect them as well as in how services are designed and delivered. They will know and understand their rights, and be able to hold their local government to account. Professionals will feel empowered to make sure children’s rights are protected and realised.