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Charities want children's minister

Political parties are being urged to include a minister for children in their election manifestos.

It is one of a raft of proposals set out in a charter for young people which is endorsed by 130 organisations including children's charities, the Law Society and the Royal College of Nursing.

The document, called "Children: Securing our Future", will be circulated in the forthcoming round of pre-election party conferences and is intended to remind the parties of their commitment to youth. Its proposals are based on the principles of protecting children's rights and developing their potential.

The document says that a minister for children would "make sure that legislation and guidance take account of the needs of children". He or she would be aided by a commissioner to promote internationally-agreed rights of children and represent their interests.

Roger Singleton, senior director at Barnardo's, says: "There are some simple and straightforward things an incoming Government could do to secure a better future for our children."

The recommendations are also endorsed by the National Early Years Network and include a call for high-quality care and education tailored to suit the under-fives, and a commitment to reduce bullying in schools. The document also backs flexible employment practices to allow parents to spend more time with their children.

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