Creating a fairer Britain
Title of guidance:
Year published: 2004
Length: 14 pages
Format: PDF (200Kb)
Other formats: none indicated
Producer/ Publisher: Children's Commissioner for Wales
Type of organisation: Inspectorate
Children's services | Local government | External Service Guidance | UN Convention on the Rights of the Child | GB wide| Case studies
Audience: Senior Executives | Service management | Human resources | Front-line service personnel
Topics: Human rights | transparency and accountability | advocacy
This practice guide examines policies and procedures to ensure that children and young people are able to make complaints and express their concerns in confidence that they will be listened to and taken seriously. It contains insights gained during a review of Welsh local authority social services published in 2003 by the Children's Commissioner for Wales. Specifically, it aims to support local authorities to implement the recommendations made in the review about complaints. It is also of wider relevance to public authorities in Britain that wish to strengthen their complaints procedures for children and young people. It does not refer in detail to human rights standards; however, it is underpinned by human rights as the Children's Commissioner for Wales has express responsibility for protecting children's rights as set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It can be read in conjunction with companion guides on whistleblowing and advocacy.
In 2002, the Children's Commissioner for Wales reviewed the operation of complaints, whistleblowing procedures and arrangements for the provision of children's advocacy services in Welsh local authorities.
The review, Telling Concerns, was published in 2003. It refers expressly to earlier recommendations made in the 2000 report Lost in Care after the inquiry by Sir Ronald Waterhouse into abuse in children's homes in North Wales stretching back 25 years.
In each area, the 2003 review identified recommendations of greatest strategic significance for social services. In relation to complaints, these included:
This short guide uses an extended case study to explain how this and other recommendations can be put into practice.
The case study involves 14 year old Sin, who has moderate learning difficulties and lives with foster carers. Against Sin's expressed wishes, social services approve her aunt as a foster carer, believing that this is the best long-term option for her. Sin wants to stay with her current foster carers who live much closer to her half siblings. Her foster carers agree to support her to make a formal complaint to social services.
At each stage in the scenario, the guide explains, with reference to examples from Welsh authorities:
The guide is short and readable, but would benefit from clearer signposting to convey its key messages.
The primary message is that children and young people need to feel confident that their wishes and views will be taken into account when decisions are made about them.
In order to achieve this, the guide says that local authorities should:
The guide makes no specific reference to equality or non-discrimination.
As above - would benefit from clearer signposting to convey key messages.
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