Campaigners question independence of panel to recruit new children’s commissioner for England

In a letter to children’s minister Vicky Ford, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England questions the independence of the board selected to appoint a replacement for Anne Longfield, due to be announced in December. The letter raises questions over the government’s decision to appoint Simon Burns, former Conservative MP for Chelmsford and leader of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association as chair of the panel. They have also criticised the appointment of Andrew McCully, who was a special adviser to former Education Secretary Damien Hinds, to sit on the panel. The letter states: “To have two panellists so closely affiliated with the party of Government and no panellist from any other political party is not in line with the Paris Principles.” The Paris Principles stress the importance of independence to enable National Human Rights Institutions to be effective in holding governments to account on their human rights obligations. Read more.

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