Vote could lead to child's rights capital status
THE rights of children will now be considered in everything that Swansea Council does, after the authority voted to make it the first in Wales to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Councillors across the board voted unanimously to adopt the UNCRC, which means a duty will be placed on the authority to have due regard to children and young people's rights in all its business.
The vote at full council followed a presentation by pupils from Hafod and Blaenymaes primary schools, urging councillors to adopt the convention.
Hafod Primary had already adopted the policy itself more than five years ago, making it the first school in Swansea to do so. Headteacher Rachel Webb said: "By adopting the convention, it means all our policies and procedures are built around it.
"I am really proud that we have come on such a long way, and the children have been involved with getting the council to vote".
Swansea Council's cabinet member for opportunities children and young people, Mitch Theaker, co-authored the Rights of Young People report.
He said: "This policy is a gateway — it will help us crush poverty in our city.
"It also shows that we're shouting from the rooftops that we're a rights-respecting authority.
"This could lead to Swansea becoming the children's rights capital of the UK."
Co-author Will Evans, cabinet member for learning and skills, added: "This shows that we, as a council, are determined to take the views of our young citizens very seriously.
"The schools that have already adopted these rights have seen benefits that include an improvement in many pupils' self-esteem."
An annual Children and Young People's Rights scheme will now be published to let people in Swansea know what the authority is doing to embed due regard and children's rights.
It will also continue to work closely with Swansea University to ensure that what it is doing works, and is transparent.
Swansea Council deputy leader Christine Richards added: "In its simplest terms, it does not take or cost much to talk to our young people and listen to what they have to say.
"Signing up to this convention nails our colours firmly to the mast.
"It gives a message to Wales and the rest of the world that, in Swansea, we value what our young people have to say."