23 Nov 2011

Children’s Commissioner commends high standard in inaugural awards

THE ASSEMBLY Commission was tonight (Wednesday) presented with the Gold Award in the Children’s Commissioner’s 2011 Participation Awards.

Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, announced the winners of her Participation Awards at Parliament Buildings paying tribute to the magnificent efforts of every entry at the awards ceremony.

“These awards are for government departments and public bodies that show how they involve children and young people in the planning and the decisions that affect their lives,” she said.

“Such was the high standard of the entries that every single one of the 24 entrants was not only shortlisted, but commended by the group of young people who judged the awards.”

Ms Lewsley-Mooney said the Assembly Commission was the gold winner in the 2011 Participation Awards because they exemplified the highest standards of involving young people in their plans to develop a Youth Assembly.

“While it was very difficult to choose the winner from the many excellent entries the Assembly Commission demonstrated an outstanding commitment to involving children and young people, listening to them, and acting on their efforts.

“In coming months we will see the outcomes of that work when the Youth Assembly takes shape.”

The Commissioner, in paying tribute to every entry, commented on the work of the young people who worked for the past eight months to develop the awards format, and to judge all 24 entries.

“All eight young people displayed incredible commitment and attention in developing these awards,” she said. “While my legislation clearly says that I must listen to young people I am delighted that so many organisations have embedded participation with children and young people in their work.”

The Silver Award was presented to the Youth Justice Agency’s Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre. Highly commended by the young people were the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s 16+ Service and the Consumer Council and Translink’s work on involving young people in a campaign for improved transport.

“Just three days ago, together with my Children’s Commissioner colleagues throughout the UK, I launched a report on how the UK Government and Devolved Administrations are meeting the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,” said Ms Lewsley-Mooney.

“If public bodies maintain and grow this type of participation then I will be reporting positively to the UN that Northern Ireland listens to young people, values their views and acts upon what they say.”

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