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Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock
"There were widespread complaints that the powers were too weak"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's David Cornock
"Ministers have now found a way of stengthening and widening the powers"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
New powers for children's commissioner
Waterhouse report graphic
The children's commissioner will receive wider authority
The Government is to give the proposed children's commissioner extra powers.

BBC Wales has learned that the commissioner will now be able to investigate complaints about adoption services and agencies - not just children in care.

The Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy, will announce what are billed as significant changes to the commissioner's powers in the Commons on Wednesday afternoon.


Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy: Wider powers
The move follows criticism from the National Assembly, to which the commissioner will report, that the powers of the post are too weak.

The commissioner will also be able to investigate services for children with disabilities and children under eight in "social care".

Ministers will amend the Care Standards Bill currently before Parliament to introduce the changes.

The Bill creates the post of commissioner - the key recommendation of the Waterhouse Report into child abuse in North Wales.

Mr Murphy will say that the Government remains ready to consider fresh proposals from the National Assembly on the issue but is anxious to ensure the commissioner is established as soon as possible.

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See also:

17 Mar 00 | Wales
MP alleges abuse 'cover up'
02 Mar 00 | Wales
Law change to protect children
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