Page last updated at 06:13 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 07:13 UK

Failings 'letting down children'

Keith Towler
Keith Towler took over the commissioner's role in March

Policies aimed at helping children and young people are failing to make a real difference to their lives, says the children's commissioner for Wales.

In his first annual review in the role, Keith Towler said there was a gap between the policies which exist and their implementation.

He also talks about slow progress in tackling child poverty issues.

In 2001 Wales became the first part of the UK to appoint an independent children's commissioner.

It would be a real pity if we do not have the courage to recognise the problems and take whatever action necessary to close those gaps
Keith Towler, children's commissioner for Wales

The annual review details the planned activities of the commissioner for the upcoming year and reports on what has happened in the past twelve months.

Mr Towler said the gap between policies and services was evident despite the good intentions of those trying to implement them.

He blamed some of the problems in delivering services on inadequate funding, with many projects not knowing whether they will still be there from one year to the next.

In a bid to solve the problems he identified in his report, Mr Towler said he would provide encouragement and support for services, but would not accept excuses.

"The fact that this gap is evident across a number of policy and service areas, in different parts of Wales, is a regular feature not only of news coverage but of advice and support cases brought to my attention, underlines the need to recognise the problem and look for ways to address it," he said.

"Having made the progress we have in Wales, it would be a real pity if we do not have the courage to recognise the problems and take whatever action necessary to close those gaps.

"We must identify ways for national and local governments and children's organisations to share information and evidence and work together effectively to improve the lives of our country's children and young people."

Mr Towler took over the commissioner's role in March and is travelling across the country to raise awareness about his role.

He will be asking children and young people for their views.


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