2 The requirements of the post|
7. The post of Children's Commissioner for England
was established under the Children Act 2004. The Office of the
Commissioner (now known as "11 MILLION") is a public
body sponsored by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
In 2008-09, the Office received £3 million in Grant-in-Aid
from the Department.
The present Commissioner and his staff are currently based in
London. In 2008-09, 11 MILLION employed 29 people on full-time
8. The general function of the Commissioner, as
defined in the Children Act 2004, is of "promoting awareness
of the views and interests of children in England". In exercising
this function, the Commissioner may, in particular:
persons exercising functions or engaged in activities affecting
children to take account of their views and interests;
advise the Secretary of State on the
views and interests of children;
consider or research the operation of
complaints procedures so far as relating to children;
consider or research any other matter
relating to the interests of children;
publish a report on any matter considered
or researched by him under section 2 of the Children Act 2004.
9. The Commissioner's overall purpose differs in
this respect from that of fellow Commissioners in Wales and in
Northern Ireland, both of whom are required not just to promote
awareness but to safeguard and promote children's rights.
10. The Department for Children, Schools and Families'
memorandum for this inquiry elaborated on the key areas of responsibility
of the post, as follows:
gather and promote awareness of the views and interests of children
and young people so as to raise the profile of children in society
and ultimately improve their wellbeing.
To encourage people working with children
and with responsibility for children, in the public and private
sectors, to take account of children and young people's views
and interests. You will also advise government on the views and
interests of children.
To consider or research any matter relating
to the interests of children, including the operation of complaints
procedures. You will consult children and organisations working
To publish reports on any matter you
have considered or researched while carrying out his/her general
To take reasonable steps to involve children
and young people in all work undertaken and in particular to pay
regard to those children who may have no other adequate means
of making their views known.
To ensure children and young people are
made aware of your work and how of how they can communicate with
you. You will have to develop an effective communications strategy
to establish a high profile and to effectively communicate in
ways suitable to children and young people.
Where cases of individual children raise
issues of public policy of relevance to other children you can
initiate and conduct inquiries. You will have legal powers of
investigation when undertaking and inquiry.
You will need to work closely with the
Children's Commissioners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
generally, and specifically on matters of non-devolved issues
to promote awareness of the views and interests of children and
young people across the UK.
To work with a wide variety of other
bodies to promote the effective delivery of services for children,
including local and national government; ombudsmen and regulators,
voluntary organisations, businesses and the media.
To report annually to Parliament via
the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families outlining
the way you have carried out your duties; what your findings were;
and matters you intend to consider or research during the next
To ensure the efficient running in operational
and financial terms of the 11 MILLION office, keeping proper accounting
records and preparing a statement of accounts each financial year.
To manage a team of staff at 11 MILLION,
ensuring provision of an efficient service in the face of a busy
and demanding workload.
11. Candidates for appointment were required to demonstrate:
good understanding, through knowledge or experience of the issues
and problems facing children and young people and experience of
tackling some of these issues.
A good knowledge of children's services
and of the policy context within which these services operate.
Experience of working with children and young people to deliver
effective outcomes for them.
Experience of working with a range of
stakeholders in order to deliver a set of common outcomes for
children and young people.
A track record of strong negotiation,
persuasion and diplomacy skills and experience of influencing
high-level decision-makers in a range of public and private organisations.
Successful experience and consistent
achievement at a senior management level within an environment
of comparable scope and complexity.
A record of demonstrable success in translating
policy ambitions into tangible achievements.
12. Among the competencies identified by the Department
as being key to successful performance in the post were the ability
to think strategically, highly developed networking skills, listening
skills (with the ability to learn from and gain the confidence
of children and young people and those working with them), excellent
oral and written communication skills, a strong grasp of the principles
of public sector propriety, regularity and accountability, and
excellent leadership and management skills.
13. The appointment is for a five-year term, renewable
for a further period of up to but not exceeding five years.
4 DCSF Departmental Report 2009, Cm 7595, Table 8.4,
page 175 Back
11 MILLION Annual Report for 2008-09, HC 734 (Session 2008-09),
page 27 Back
Departmental memorandum, paragraph 8 Back
Departmental memorandum, paragraph 8 Back