The Review of Public Administration must focus on how it will affect the lives of those under18, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams said today.
The Commissioner made his call as he provided a detailed response from NICCY at today’s conclusion of the consultation on the review.
Mr Williams said it was vital that young people are involved in any proposed changes and be encouraged to participate in the new structures in health, social services, education and other services that affect their lives.
He also said the review was an opportunity to bring children’s policy in Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.
“It is essential that those making decisions about our administrative structures remember that the children now at primary school, the young people starting post-primary education will be the people who feel the greatest impact of any proposed changes,” he said.
“We must all make sure that any new bodies focus on outcomes for children and young people – children and young people don’t care how they receive services, they just want to know that when they need support, help or care that it will be there for them.”
The Commissioner also emphasised the need for young people to be given an active role in new structures.
“So many of public services impacts on the lives of children and young people that it would be remiss of the proposed new structures not to include young people in the changes and make real provision for them to participate when they are established.
“Northern Ireland already lags behind other parts of the United Kingdom in terms of the policies that affect children and young people,” Mr William said.
“The Review of Public Administration is an opportunity to focus Government and the public sector on making sure we not only catch up on the rest of the UK, but also set new standards for participation of children and young people in the public sector.”
Notes for Editors
Further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found at www.niccy.org.