Children's Rights - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

Letter from the Chairman to Baroness Morgan of Drefelin, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families

  Thank you for appearing before the Joint Committee on Human Rights on 24 March. As I indicated on the day, there are a number of areas arising from the session in which we would like further information. I also have a number of questions dealing with matters which were not covered in oral evidence.

  The issues arising from the oral evidence are as follows:

    — Q43—you offered more information on guidance relating to child prostitutes

    — Q51—you offered more information on recent trends in the number of children held on remand

    — Q62—you offered more information on the financial implications for local authorities on extending the statutory duty to education to custodial establishments

    — Q65—you offered more information on the steps being taken to implement changes arising from the Government's withdrawal of the reservation to Article 37(c) of the UNCRC, given the evidence we have received that children are being held with adults in some institutions in Northern Ireland and Scotland

    — Q69—we would be grateful for your view on whether you agree with the independent review of the use of restraint in secure training centres that the use of pain compliance was "irreconcilable" with the UNCRC (pages 7-8 of the review)

    — Q86—you offered more information on the reasons why girls in custody were more likely than boys to self-harm

    — Q93—you offered to check whether asylum or immigration duties have been, or could be, delegated to BAA staff

    — Q96—we would be grateful to receive a copy of the review of the Millbank pilot or, if it is not yet available, an indication of when we might receive it

    — Q116—we wish to receive an analysis of the domestic legal remedies available in relation to breach of each article of the UNCRC.

  Our additional questions are as follows:

    — What steps are you taking to awareness of the UNCRC in the UK?

    — Are you intending to establish a stakeholder's group to monitor progress in dealing with the CRC Committee's concluding observations, as exists in Scotland?

    — How were the CRC Committee's recommendations prioritised, in order to arrive at the list in Annex A of "The Children's Plan—a Progress Report"?

    — In its response to the independent review of the use of restraint, the Government accepts in principle that any restrained young person should be seen by a registered nurse or medical practitioner within 30 minutes of an incident, but states that "any establishment will need to form a judgement whether it necessary to do so in particular cases" (rec 37, page 19). Can you explain why establishments should be able to continue using their discretion as to whether or not to require restrained young persons to be medically examined?

    — Similarly, why has the recommendation that "all injuries should be photographed" (rec 38, p19) not been fully accepted?

    — Can you provide more detail of the work which is being done to prepare for ratification of the UNCRC Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography?

    — Why was the rule requiring those who join the armed forces at 16 to commit to a minimum of six years service, whilst those who join at 18 need only serve a minimum of four years, reinstated? And what steps have been taken to inform the CRC Committee that the rule has been reinstated, given that the Committee welcomed the lifting of the rule in its Concluding Observations on UK compliance with the Optional Protocol to the UNCRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict?

2 April 2009

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