Monitoring and reporting on children's rights
Monitoring and reporting on the UNCRC in Wales have vastly improved since the 2002 reporting process to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Wales UNCRC Monitoring group has expanded in number and strength, encouraging more NGOs and academic institutions to become involved in NGO alternative reporting as well as holding Government and the Children's Commissioner to account in relation to their reporting function.
Additionally there has been improved Welsh Assembly Government wide reporting. As part of the 2008 reporting process, the Assembly Government produced their own publication on monitoring progress on the UNCRC in Wales.
The 2008 reporting process also saw the first four UK Children's Commissioners' report on the Convention with all four Children's Commissioners attending both the pre-sessional hearing and the examination of the UK State party report for the first time.
Finally and most importantly Funky Dragon carried out an in-depth peer-led research study on children's rights, becoming a global pioneer in children and young people's reporting on the UNCRC and communicating children's own voices directly to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
All of these reports were the result of significant collaborative activity between members and their various professional networks and of engagement with relevant bodies elsewhere in the UK and at international level.
UN reporting process 2008
UK Government - The UK Government’s 2007 state party report was co-ordinated by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) with submissions from each of the four countries of the UK. The UK Government delegation to the Committee hearing in 2008 included representation from the UK Government and the three devolved nations.
Welsh Assembly Government - For the first time since ratification the Welsh Assembly Government published their own report, Rights in Action, which was made available to the people of Wales and a children and young people friendly version. Additionally, in response to the list of issues put to the UK State party by the UN Committee during the reporting process, the Welsh Assembly Government developed a list of 16 priority rights issues for Wales.
Children's Commissioner for Wales - For the first time the four UK Children's Commissioners prepared a report to be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and each of the four Commissioners attended the pre-sessional hearing in June 2008 and the State party hearing in September 2008.
Equality and Human Rights Commission - Although the Equality and Human Rights Commission had only been recently established they also submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Wales UNCRC NGO Monitoring Group - The NGO 'alternative report' in Wales was co-ordinated by the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group. They submitted a full and summary version of their report Stop, Look, Listen – the road to realising children's rights in Wales.
Funky Dragon - Since the first report to the Committee in 1994, the views of children and young people have progressively been given more space and included in the UK and Wales’ governmental reports.
During the 2008 reporting process Funky Dragon – the Children and Young Peoples’ Assembly for Wales – undertook their own programme of peer-led research to independently gather views and experiences from children and young people from around Wales. The globally pioneering project, ‘Our Rights: Our Story’, formed the basis of Funky Dragon's submission to the Committee in 2008 and a delegation of young people attended the hearing in Geneva to present their evidence. Funky Dragon submitted two reports Our rights: Our Story (11-18), and Why do people’s ages go up not down? (7-10)
Read about the young people's presentation to the UNCRC Committee here.
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations 2008
The UN Committee’s Concluding Observations were released on October 3rd 2008. Access a full copy here and a child friendly version here.
The next reporting process will be in 2014; all the above institutions will continue to monitor the implementation of the Convention and report to the UN Committee at this time.
Data collection on children
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has frequently noted that without sufficient data collection, including disaggregated data (data that breaks down into groups of children e.g. children in care, BME children, asylum seekers, disabled children, children in poverty etc) it is impossible to assess the extent to which the Convention has been implemented or for anyone to really understand the reality of children's lives and therefore respond to issues identified with necessary solutions.
National level - Children and young people’s well-being monitor
The children and young people well-being- monitor focuses on the well-being of children and young people aged 0 to 18 years in Wales, with a view to providing a holistic picture of their lives. It pulls together statistics and research from a range of different sources and reports on a variety of child well-being indicators.
The monitor is the first of its kind for Wales. It is based on themes taken from the Assembly Government's seven core aims for children and young people which are underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Monitor also reports on progress against the Welsh Assembly Government’s child poverty targets, placing them within the context of what else we know about the circumstances and experiences of children and young people in Wales.
Work has commenced on developing a revised version of the Monitor for 2010. This will report on well-being far more closely in relation to the UNCRC.
New national survey for Wales
A children and young people's questionnaire is being included as part of the 2009-10 National Survey for Wales - which is a pilot for a possible national survey that would be carried out annually. The 2009-10 survey will include a self-completion questionnaire for children and young people aged 10 to 15. There are specific questions included in this questionnaire on leisure activities, overall well-being, participation in decision making and levels of awareness of the UNCRC. These topics will also be included in the 2010 Well Being Monitor.
Following the completion of the 2009-10 survey it is hoped that the National Survey will run annually.
Local level - Outcomes measures framework development project
The guidance for the Children and Young People Plans as set out in Shared Planning for Better Outcomes (WAG 2007) is currently being reviewed. Using an 'outcomes based accountability' approach, the Outcomes Measure Framework project will aim to identify and gain agreement for a set of data measures to be used in the form of an Outcome Measures Framework (OMF) that demonstrates the population differences for children and young people within a children and young people partnership area. It will be structured to reflect the UNCRC as summarised in the seven core aims. The OMF will be published in April 2010, following consultation. It will consist of high level measures on which all Plans must report, and groups of additional measures from which selection can be made in measuring performance against local priorities. It is intended that once fully developed, the Framework will enable the Assembly Government to report on performance in implementing children's rights in Wales. Take a look at the Public Services section of the website for information as it is updated.