In December 2015, NICCY complained to the Equality Commission about the Government’s consultation on its proposals to introduce Age GFS legislation that excludes under 16s, on the grounds that they failed to properly consult with children and young people. The Equality Commission’s decision and investigation report into NICCY’s complaint was made public on the 7th March 2017 – see press release.
The Equality Commission upheld (i.e. agreed with) NICCY’s complaint and found that the consultation with children and young people had not been properly carried out. They recommended that a consultation specific to the needs of children and young people, on Age GFS legislation should be carried out. This consultation should properly seek the views of children and young people; remove barriers to the participation of children and young people in the consultation and provide all information relevant to children and young people. The results of this consultation should then be used alongside the results of the earlier consultation in considering how to move the legislation forward. The Equality Commission gave the Government 3 months to report on its progress on the consultation with the children and young people.
This result sends a very clear message to Government that the voices of children and young people must be heard in developing policy and legislation and in all matters which impact on their lives. NICCY, and other organisations working with and for children and young people, will make sure that we use these findings to hold Government to account on its duty to properly consult with children and young people on Age GFS and all issues impacting on children’s lives.
We hope that there is no delay in taking forward this consultation with children and young people and we will keep you updated with any developments as and when they happen. We know that you, like us, will be looking forward to having your say about the right of children and young people of all ages to be protected from discrimination of any kind.
You can view the full report here.