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Having a say

All children and young people have a right to a say in the decisions that affect them.

This means that whenever adults make decisions that affect children, they should give them a real chance to share their views, and carefully consider their opinions.

UNCRC rights

Here are some of the rights your child has to have their say.

All children’s rights are written in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 12

The right to be listened to and taken seriously

Article 13

The right to find out and share information and say what they think (freedom of expression)

Having their say and receiving information

In whatever dealings your child has with a public body, whether it’s the council, the school, or anybody else – there are some basic ways they should expect to be treated.

One of those basics is to be able to have their say, and for adults to take their views seriously.

  • Adults should regularly ask your child for their views; it shouldn’t be a one-off. It’s good to think of it like this: adults should make decisions with children, not for them.
  • If an adult gives your child information, it should be in a language or format that is appropriate for their age. It should also take into account their maturity, culture, and whether they have a disability or not.

Leading the way

Some organisations in Wales are really good at listening to young people and involving them in their work.

Here are some of the things they do:

  • Write children’s versions of reports, and other documents that might normally only be written for adults
  • Give children information about how they will respect their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Give children opportunities to question leaders and decision-makers directly, perhaps as part of a Q+A session
  • Make a youth forum who work with them regularly to give them ideas, give feedback on their work, and remind them about the promises they might have made previously
  • Involve children in shaping the services themselves

BAYouth Children’s Rights Charter

BAYouth is Swansea Bay Health Board’s youth panel, which helps young people to have their say when using health services. In this video, young people explain:

  • What it means to them to be part of a panel and to be listened to
  • How their ideas have helped the health board to make their services better
  • The opportunities they have to meet new people and to learn new things
  • How the panel helps all children and young people to understand and get their rights

 

National Museums Wales

National Museums Wales are giving children and young people the opportunity to set up events and activities for other young people.

In the video, a staff member and a member of the youth group explain how the group has helped National Museums Wales to offer better activities to children and young people.

 

What all councils should do

When your local council makes a decision that affects children and young people, they need to ask young people what they think.

If you want to read the technical information on this, it’s written in the Statutory Guidance on Children and Young People’s Participation.

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