What issues affect children and young people today? On our blog, our volunteers, staff, leaders and the young people we work with share their experiences and tackle the issues. Let us know what you think – leave a comment or send us a message about what you find on our blog.
Introducing Jasmine Mitchell, Policy Volunteer
Soon after beginning her time at The Children's Society, Jasmine, our new Policy Volunteer, took some time to answer a few questions about her work, her background and what she'll be doing with our policy team.
Q: Why did you apply for the post of Policy and Parliamentary Volunteer?
A: After reading History and Politics at the University of Liverpool, I wanted to gain experience in a policy team for a charity and really get to grips with the interaction between politics and the charity sector. During my time at university I dedicated much of my spare time to working on projects with Student Action For Refugees Liverpool. I loved working with people on a one-to-one basis, understanding issues that faced such a vulnerable section of our society and advocating for refugee rights in a student environment and on a national level.
The Children’s Society is a large organisation that has a number of projects around the country working with children and families. This particular aspect encouraged me to apply. I wanted to be able to work on policy issues, work with government and be informed by practitioners and children the charity supports. There is very little research on children’s experiences of living in poverty and living in care, so to be able to connect with young people carries great importance and legitimacy to work produced within the policy team.
The team produces reports, briefings and responses to government consultations on proposed changes to policy that constantly analyses how government policy directly affects children and families across England. It’s great to be part of a team that is very effective and at the forefront of working for positive change.
Q: As a Policy and Parliamentary Volunteer, what do you do?
A: It’s been a really busy first month as the House of Lords and the House of Commons rose for recess in July. The team had reports to publish, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) events to organise, alongside the Children and Families Bill and the Care Bill passing through parliament. Such an intense period meant I had to quickly immerse myself in the policy issues the team have been focussing on and get straight to work.
Working across the policy team has meant work has been diverse and challenging. I have been researching MPs, drafting briefings and policy updates, writing letters and organising APPGs. During my first month the department launched reports and consultation responses so I have been tweeting from our Twitter account about our work, and published a blog on the Children England website.
Q: What has been your favourite project so far?
A: I’ve been working closely with James Bury and Michaela Nield from the public affairs team to continue building on our strong relationship with parliamentarians. There are a large number of MPs and Peers we work closely with on specific policy issues, such as Ann Coffey MP. We are the joint secretariat of the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults. We have worked closely with Ann Coffey MP, the chair of this APPG.
In my first few weeks we had to organise an event that celebrated the influential joint report published by this APPG last year. We had Edward Timpson MP, the minister responsible for Children who go missing from care report to the APPG on the government’s projected plan of action was to address the recommendations raised in the report. It was great to see his recognition of the importance of the report and how the inquiry had instigated government action.
At the event, the room was filled with other key children’s charities, practitioners and MPs. It was great to see so many important people together to scrutinise government policy on this specific issue and work towards better safeguarding practice for children in England.