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Tagged In:  Government News
Anne Longfield takes up the role as the new Children’s Commissioner for England on March 1 with a key priority to create a system that joins up services around vulnerable children and young people.

As the outgoing Chief executive of 4Children - a national charity which works to support children, young people and families - Ms Longfield has 30 years’ experience in developing, influencing and shaping the agenda for children and families across Parliament and government. She succeeds the current Children’s Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson, who has held the post since 2010 and steps down at the end of February.

Over her term in office Ms Longfield has pledged to build on her record in improving the lives of children and young people with a strong commitment to championing children’s rights and safeguarding their interests, particularly the most vulnerable.

Underpinning that is to establish a more cohesive approach with a system that joins up services around vulnerable children and young people. Ms Longfield said: “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.”

In announcing the appointment last November, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “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, made an OBE in 2000 in recognition of her contribution to children’s services, has a lengthy and distinguished career in the voluntary sector, including 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 involved with 4Children for two decades, shaping the national charity which is all about children and families with a reputation for spearheading a joined-up, integrated approach to children’s services and working with a wide range of partners around the country to ensure children and families have access to the services and support they need in their communities.

It runs Sure Start Children’s Centres as well as family and youth services across Britain and develops, influences, and shapes national policy on all aspects of the lives of children, young people and families.

The role of the Children’s Commissioner, created by the Children Act 2004 and strengthened by the Children and Families Act 2014, 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.

Key aspects of the role include creating effective partnership working, an understanding of the issues and problems facing children and young people from different backgrounds, the ability to bring about changes that have a demonstrable impact on children’s lives, thinking strategically about the issues affecting children in order to represent their views and interests, and the ability to engage with and gain the confidence of children and young people in order to effectively represent their views and interests.

Ms Longfield will become the third children’s commissioner for England, following Maggie Atkinson and Sir Al Aynsley-Green, who held the post between 2005 and 2010.

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