Agenda item

Agenda item

Manchester - Child Friendly City

Report of the Strategic Director (Children and Education)


Our Child Friendly Journey follows the success of 2022 ‘Our Year’. ‘Our Year’ started a movement and was a catalyst for a change in behaviour, to make sure children and young people are at the heart of everything we do in Manchester.  We always wanted this commitment to be long-lasting and one more thing that sets Manchester apart.


Manchester is working with UNICEF UK's Child Friendly Cities and Communities programme to put children's rights into practice. The programme aims to create communities where all children, whether they are living in care, using a children's centre, playscheme, youth centre or visiting their local library, have a meaningful say, and truly benefit from, the local decisions, services and spaces that shape their lives.


Committee members will have the benefit of an animated presentation, which will provide an overview of the emerging themes throughout our Discovery phase.


The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services which provided an overview of work for Manchester to become internationally recognised as a ‘Child Friendly City’.


Key points and themes in the report included:


·         Background information;

·         Main issues;

·         Governance;

·         Development stage; and

·         Delivery stage.


The Committee watched a short video which provided an overview of the emerging themes throughout the Discovery phase of this work.


Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:


·         To welcome the report and the video and the approach being taken;

·         To welcome the wide expansion of the number of schools in Manchester which were Rights Respecting Schools from the three schools which had initially signed up for this;

·         That this was building an expectation among young people that their voices would be heard and raising a generation to be active citizens;

·         That climate change was a very important issue for children and young people, the effect of car fumes on children’s health and that children and young people needed positive actions that they could take to address climate change and to see the outcomes of this;

·         Making the city centre Child Friendly, including the advertisements on display;

·         The importance of play and ensuring that inclusive play was at the centre of every development in the city; and

·         Timescales for the action plan and the delivery stage.


A Member who was Lord Mayor during Our Year shared her experiences of the positive work that had taken place and emphasised the importance of listening to children and young people’s voices.  The Chair and other Members shared their experiences of taking part in the engagement with children and young people.  The Chair also commented on the important role that Social Value could play in this work.


The Executive Member for Early Years, Children and Young People emphasised the importance of engaging with young people in a respectful and non-patronising manner, including explaining obstacles to implementing a suggestion and collaborating on finding solutions.  He provided an example from his ward about partnership working to ensure that public spaces were designed in way which provided an environment for children to play.  In response to a question from the Chair, he confirmed that the launch event would be at the Council meeting in January 2024.


The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services informed Members that supporting more schools to become Rights Respecting Schools was part of the Children and Young People’s Plan.  In response to a question about choosing the final three ‘badges’ from the five key top themes, he reported that innovation and creativity would be used to select the final three badges and that these would be announced in January 2024.  He reported that the timescale for creating the development plan was two to four months and that officers were already giving consideration to the content of the plan, although it could not be populated until the three badges were decided.  He reported that Cardiff had recently become the UK’s first Child Friendly City and that it had taken the city about five years to achieve this status but that Manchester already had a lot of positive things in place in relation to participation and engagement and youth and play services so was already further along the journey. Therefore, he would hope Manchester would be able to progress a bit more quickly.  In response to a Member’s question, he recognised the challenge in changing officers’ ways of thinking and approach to work across all Directorates across the Council.  He informed Members that there were people acting as Champions and Ambassadors across the Council’s Directorates, as well as in partner organisations, that training was important to help shape this and that the training needed to result in sustained changes in ways of working.




1.            To support the promotion of initiatives/programmes within areas of responsibility that create activities, opportunities and celebrate the success of Manchester’s children and young people.


2.            To endorse and support Manchester’s journey in becoming a globally recognised child friendly city.

Supporting documents: