Parents are the heart of our communities and know what’s best for their families. We believe London should be a city where the concerns, views, and voices of parents are taken seriously and listened to. A city where parents are given a seat at the table when the decisions that impact their families are being made. A city where parents are empowered and supported to enable the next generation to flourish.
In 2019, parents across London came together to develop a way for parents in the city to have more say over the policies and decisions that impacted their families.
The parents, from Parent Power, Empoderando Familias, PACT and other parent organisations, developed a campaign for a Parent Commissioner at the Greater London Authority (GLA) - the creation of a new cross-cutting role at City Hall to advocate for parents and ensure that they are involved in policy making and implementation on issues that affect their families.
Too often, parents are left overburdened and powerless with guidance, advice, and clarity hard to come by. Parents all over London are already organising to change that - a Parent Commissioner would put someone in place at the Mayor’s office to give those parents a seat at the table.
In the past two years there has been significant progress on parenting at the GLA and especially in the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) led by Lib Peck. The VRU has appointed a parenting team. This has led to including a focus on parents in commissioning, creating advisory groups of parents and specialists, and working across the GLA to include parents.
Whilst we are pleased to see the progress with parents the GLA and we are working with the VRU but we are still calling for a Parent Commissioner.
Why a parent commissioner is still needed:
Broader responsibility and perspective
Whilst there has been progress at the VRU, a Parent Commissioner would have a broader remit that would cover all areas of the GLA. Parents’ perspectives are just as important in areas such as Education, Social Integration, Skills, Transport and Housing as they are in the Violence Reduction Unit.
Long term sustainable changes
A permanent post created in the GLA would also be able to capture the learning from positive parent initiatives at the VRU and ensure that long-term sustainable changes are made.
Tie together good practice
There is a risk that good practice on parenting within the GLA is siloed and happening in isolation from each other. A Parent Commissioner could tie together good practice.
Communication and accountability to the public
Lastly, a Parent Commissioner could communicate approaches to involve parents to the public and be accountable to Londoners for involving parents in policy making and implementation.
"In my view, parents do not get a look in and are usually the afterthought when it comes to polices around their children. I believe parents need a seat at the table of the decision makers! The Parent Commissioner would give parents a much needed voice to be involved in conversations that impact on themselves and their children. A Parent Commissioner is imperative now - in fact more than ever during these unprecedented times. We don't want to be heard, we NEED to be heard!"
- Miata, Parent Leader, Parent Power