This briefing supports Amendment 69 and Amendment 71 which seek to introduce a duty on public authorities in England to have due regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) when carrying out their functions in relation to children.
The CRC is an international treaty setting out the rights of children in all areas of their life, for example, their rights to freedom from violence, abuse and neglect, and to express their views freely and be heard in legal proceedings that affect them. The UK ratified the Convention in 1991 and, in doing so, agreed that public bodies should respect children’s rights when doing anything that affects children. However, the Government is yet to incorporate the CRC fully into domestic law.
Currently children’s rights are not given the necessary attention in the decision-making of public bodies. The recent conclusions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) identify where the UK has failed, so far, to put effective law, policy and resources in place to protect and promote children’s human rights. Evidence from Scotland and Wales shows that a statutory duty requiring public authorities to have due regard to the CRC when carrying out their functions in relation to children would have a real and meaningful impact on children’s lives. Such a duty would require public authorities in England to routinely consider the impact of policies on children and put children’s best interests at the heart of decision-making.
Last updated: 18 Oct 2016