Barnet Council has unveiled the six key themes which will guide the authority’s three-year partnership with global children’s charity Unicef.
Barnet was one of just five local authorities in the country to be selected to take part in the international Child Friendly Cities and Communities programme after applying to Unicef UK.
The council is working with partners across the borough to greater embed children’s rights into the authority’s governance, policy and practice.
The aim is for Barnet to be recognised as a Child Friendly Community, supporting all children to grow up healthy, happy, safe and resilient.
The six themed ‘badges’, three of which were chosen by children, young people and local partner organisations, mark a key milestone in the partnership, and will help guide it over the coming years.
The badges are:
- .Co-operation and leadership
- .Safe and secure
- .Family and belonging
- .Education and learning.
Over the next three years the council and its partners will strive towards achieving these badges, with progress being monitored by an independent panel of experts.
Using the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide, the global Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme helps cities and communities in more than 24 countries put children’s rights and well-being at their heart.
Child Friendly Cities and Communities are places where the voices, needs and rights of children are an integral part of policies, services and decisions.
The partnership will support the council’s aim of becoming the most family friendly borough in London by 2020.
Councillor David Longstaff, Chairman of the Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee, said: “Barnet is the first local authority in London to partner with Unicef UK, and it is a really exciting opportunity for us which reflects our ambition of becoming the most family friendly borough in London.
“These badges are a very important element for driving our partnership, and will help guide everything we do to embed children’s rights into more of what the council does.
“Over the course of the three-year partnership we will work hard towards achieving each of these badges and ultimately becoming recognised as a Child Friendly Community.”
Anna Kettley, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK, said: “Deciding which areas to focus on over the next three years is a hugely important step in Barnet’s journey to becoming a Child Friendly Community; a place where all children feel safe, heard, nurtured and able to flourish.
“It’s fantastic to see how much engagement has taken place to reach this decision, especially with children and young people. It means Barnet’s badges are a true reflection of what’s most important to the borough’s youngest residents.”
As part of the governance of the Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme, each local authority taking part has an advisory board of children and young people whose role it is to hold the council to account and support children’s voices to shape and influence the programme at every stage.
One member of Barnet’s advisory group, the Children’s Rights Forum, said: “I really enjoy going to the Children’s Rights Forum and I think that it is a great experience for any young person. You gain knowledge of your rights as part of the UN convention and you are then able to use these rights to vocalise and express where there are problems in Barnet. I have been there since the journey started and I am so impressed and pleased at the progress the programme is making and the huge amount of youth input at every stage.”