The North East Child Poverty Commission is a stakeholder group that believes that all children in the North East of England should have an equal chance in life. The Commission, which includes senior representatives from public, private and voluntary sectors, aim to be an effective lobbying, influencing and campaigning group that can help to build public support for actions that improve the lives of poor children living in the North East.
To this end, the Commission is involved with a number of projects that aim to reduce child poverty in the North East. Below is a summary of some of the projects and areas of work that the Commission is participating in or leading on.
Working for North East Families – Around 60% of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one adult works. Work does not always offer a route out of poverty and, when it does, it is often on an insecure and precarious basis. Employment practices and ‘Terms and Conditions’ can all have a bearing on whether or not wrok really does offer a genuine, lasting route out of poverty. Together with partners, the Commission is developing a project looking to engage with employers in the region to make them aware of the role that they can play in ending child poverty as well as the benefits that it can bring to them, both in the short term and the long term. For more information on this project, please visit the Working for North East families page on this blog.
Poverty proofing the school day – Children North East are working with the Commission to develop a toolkit to help schools to ‘poverty proof’ the school day, from a child’s perspective. This work will include working with children, staff and governors from four schools in the North East to explore how policy and practice within these schools can inadvertently add to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of children living in poverty. This work has developed as a result of the Children North East photography project and exhibition last year and is funded by the Policy and Representation Partnership at VONNE
Child Poverty and Education – the Commission are developing a training session for school governors in the region on the links between child poverty and educational attainment and how the Pupil Premium and other resources might be used to help raise the attainment of children living in poverty. This work has developed following discussions with teachers and child poverty leads and governor services within local authorities. Nine authorities in the North East are taking part in the pilot programme.
Regional Seminar Series – the Commission organises and hosts seminars on topics related to child poverty on a regular basis. The aim of these events is to share research findings with policy makers and practitioners in the region. Topics explored so far have included low income families use of brands, maternal deprivation, potential uses of the Pupil Premium and how government discovered early childhood. Future topics include Understanding welfare differently (with Paul Spicker), Poverty & Ethnicity (with JRF and Gary Craig) and the Living Wage (with the Living Wage Foundation). You can be kept up to date with these events by joining our mailing list here
North East Child Poverty Policy Network –as well as supporting the work of the Commission, the regional child poverty co-ordinator also supports a child poverty policy network for local authority leads and voluntary sector officers working on child poverty. This group meets bi-monthly and discusses issues of common concern and policy developments. Officers from Child Poverty Action Group and the Child Poverty Unit regularly attend the network as well. As well as meeting formally as a group, the co-ordinator also supports local authorities with individual requests and advice and support.
‘Local authorities, lcoal duties & local action’ – a report has just been completed that explores how local authorities in the North East have fulfilled their ‘local duties’ under the Child Poverty Act which requires them, along with their partners, to publish a Child Poverty Needs Assessment and a Child Poverty Strategy. The report looks at emerging themes within the region from these documents and highlights some potential policy options that local authorities could pursue. The report will be posted on our blog when it is published.
Awareness raising – the Commission also raise awareness of the issue of child poverty in the region through our own communications (the blog, the e-newsletter, Twitter etc) and those of other partner organisations such as VONNE, the Regional Youth Work Unit and the regional Children England network. The co-ordinator often responds to requests for comment and information on local media stories relating to child poverty.
About the blog
The blog of the Commission is one way of stimulating discussion and challenging views about child poverty and keeping people that we work with (or who have an interest in child poverty) up to date with some of the latest developments and news in this area. We post comments on – and critiques of – relevant policy proposals, research reports and news items. Therefore, the content of posts do not always reflect the views of the Commission or individual members (or those of the Coordinator) and we can’t be held responsible for the content of external links, although we do try and check them.
We also use the blog keep people up to date with some of our own work and the thoughts of some of our members and colleagues.
If you would like to keep up to date with posts from the blog, please follow us by using the box on the right hand side of the page to provide us with your e-mail address. We aim to update the blog around 2-3 times per week and we are very conscious not to bombard our followers with emails or updates too often.
About the co-ordinator
Stephen Crossley is the Child Poverty Coordinator in the North East of England, supporting the work of the Commission and its associated projects. He currently works 3 days per week.
He adminsters the blog on behalf of the Commission and if you have any questions, comments or concerns about its content or about the work of the Commission more widely, please do not hesitate to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
We especially welcome guest blogs on subjects relating to child poverty.