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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Final report

C.5: A cabinet Minister for Children

54. The introduction of the Child Protection Authority should be coupled with the introduction of a cabinet Minister for Children. This post would provide a sharper focus within government on critical issues which affect children and would provide the necessary leadership, profile and influence on matters of child protection.


55. In order to maintain the profile of child protection and deal with the challenges of reform, a Minister for Children should be created with cabinet status. The Minister for Children would be required to work across government departments to enable the welfare of children to remain a high priority.

56. At ministerial level, there are areas of overlap in responsibilities within government between issues of child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults, and the portfolios of ministers are necessarily complex. For example, the Minister for Safeguarding sits in the Home Office with responsibility for the policy area of violence against women and girls. The Children and Families Minister sits in the Department for Education and deals with subjects as diverse as school food and children’s social care. Both ministers have wide-ranging responsibilities and hold the title of Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, the most junior ministerial position.

57. A Minister with cabinet responsibility for children would bring the diverse strands of policy development together by giving a voice to the child’s perspective. The creation of such a post would signal the priority and importance attached to this role and importantly provide strong, single leadership for child protection at the highest level. Additionally, the Minister for Children would be able to sponsor the CPA and, when necessary, commission inspections from the CPA.

58. The appointment would inevitably mean working across government to improve outcomes for children. It may, of course, be possible to reallocate certain policy areas to facilitate greater cohesion across all aspects of children’s welfare. That is a matter for the government. The essential point is that the role of children in society is given a different status than the one that has existed in reality in institutions over many decades. The government should lead the way in signalling the leadership required.


59. The Welsh Government comprises 14 ministers, of which nine are cabinet members. Safeguarding of both adults and children is the responsibility of the Minister for Health and Social Services, and safeguarding in schools is the responsibility of the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language. There are no formal departmental divisions within the Welsh Government, instead it is divided into four groups: the Office of the First Minister Group, the Health and Social Services Group, the Education and Public Services Group and the Economy, Skills and Natural Resources Group.

60. The creation of a further cabinet post may be more difficult in Wales, given the number of ministerial arrangements, and so the Inquiry’s recommendation is couched slightly differently to provide the Welsh Government with an appropriate degree of flexibility to implement this recommendation. However, the principled consideration that children’s welfare should be given greater priority and status with single leadership at high office remains the same.

Recommendation 3: A cabinet Minister for Children

The UK government

The Inquiry recommends that the UK government creates a cabinet-level ministerial position for children.

The Welsh Government

The Inquiry recommends that the Welsh Government ensures that there is cabinet-level ministerial responsibility for children.

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