Department for Education
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New Children's Commissioner appointed

Anne Longfield OBE has been appointed as the new Children’s Commissioner for England.

The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, has yesterday (13 November 2014) announced the appointment of Anne Longfield OBE as the next Children’s Commissioner for England.

Ms Longfield, chief executive of 4Children - a national charity which works to support children, young people and families - will take up her post on 1 March 2015.

Her 30 years’ experience in developing, influencing and shaping the agenda for children and families across Parliament and government have made her the outstanding candidate to oversee the Office of the Children’s Commission for the next 6 years.

Anne Longfield OBE will replace the current Children’s Commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson, who has held the post since 2010.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

I am delighted to appoint Anne to the role, and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Maggie for all her hard work over the last 4 years.

Anne has shown relentless dedication and drive to improving the lives of children and young people during a career spanning over 30 years, and I know she shares my commitment to championing children’s rights and safeguarding their interests - particularly the most vulnerable.

I have absolutely no doubt that her strong track record in children and young people’s services and the passion she has demonstrated throughout her career will make a real difference to the lives of children across the country as she takes the helm at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Anne Longfield OBE said:

I am delighted and hugely privileged to have been appointed as the next Children’s Commissioner for England.

It’s a vitally important role with the potential to make a real difference for children in this country - especially for those vulnerable children who need our protection and support the most.

I very much look forward to taking up the post next year.

Anne Longfield OBE has enjoyed a lengthy and distinguished career in the voluntary sector, including spearheading and leading on a number of high-profile campaigns, commissions and inquiries which have helped improve support for children and families. She has also spent time in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit at the Cabinet Office.

She has been chief executive for 4Children for more than 20 years and received the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her contribution to children’s services in the millennium honours. She also gained the Freedom of the City of London in 2013 for services to children in the capital.

Notes to editor

  1. Maggie Atkinson will continue as the Children’s Commissioner for England until 28 February 2015.

  2. The role of the Children’s Commissioner was created by the Children Act 2004 and has been strengthened by the Children and Families Act 2014. The role of the Children’s Commissioner is to promote and protect the rights of all children in England with a particular focus on those with difficulties or challenges in their lives, such as those living away from home, in or leaving care, or receiving social care services. Read more about the role of the Children’s Commissioner.
  3. The role and terms of appointment for the Children’s Commissioner for England are defined in part 6 and schedule 5 of the Children and Families Act 2014. The person specification for the role was drawn up in consultation with civil society organisations and the current Children’s Commissioner and includes:
  • the ability to lead a high-profile and complex organisation, create effective partnership working, influence stakeholders and provide effective challenge
  • an understanding of the issues and problems facing children and young people from different backgrounds, and the ability to bring about changes that have a demonstrable impact on children’s lives
  • an understanding of the delivery of public services affecting children and the policy context within which those services operate
  • the ability to successfully communicate with a wide range of audiences, including children, decision makers, government, Parliament and the media
  • the ability to think strategically about the issues affecting children in order to represent their views and interests effectively
  • the ability to engage with and gain the confidence of children and young people in order to effectively represent their views and interests
  • an understanding of how children’s rights are protected and promoted through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), domestic legislation and other international treaties
  • a sound grasp of financial management and the importance of securing value for money

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