A young person sits on a step in conversation with a Barnardo's support worker

Our policy work

We bring about change to make children's lives better

We call for improvements to the law, policy, and professional practice informed by the experiences of the children and young people we support and our own evidence-based research.

To ensure that the actions we recommend are as effective as possible, we carry out evidence-based research and share it with decision-makers and others working to help change children’s lives and the systems around them for the better. 

Nobody knows better than children and young people what their lives are really like, but they might not always feel comfortable speaking out, especially if they’ve had difficult experiences in the past. We're committed to supporting young people to share their experiences and insights about the laws, policies, practices, and systems that affect them. We amplify their voices in our research and influencing work amongst decision-makers across the four nations of the UK to help change children’s lives and the systems around them for the better. 

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How many times Barnardo’s was mentioned in legislatures across the UK from 2021-22

Find out about our recent policy work across the UK

This year, we led a coalition calling on the Government to introduce compulsory age verification for commercial pornography sites which they did in the Online Safety Bill. We also achieved amendments to the Health and Care Act, including protection for young carers when their relatives are discharged from hospital, working in partnership with Carers UK. 

In Scotland, we gave oral evidence to Scottish Parliament Committees into exploitation of children and young people, young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and the Scottish Attainment Challenge. We have also influenced policy and legislation in the Scottish Parliament, including on the Children’s Care and Justice Bill, arranged service visits for MSPs, and supported the campaign to double the Scottish Child Payment.

In Northern Ireland, we engaged with the Independent Review of Children’s Services in Northern Ireland throughout 2022 and 2023. We submitted a Summary Report to the Review which highlighted findings from research with Barnardo’s NI staff, children, young people, parents and carers – many of our key issues were reflected in the recommendations published by the Review in June 2023. We also launched a manifesto for the local government elections in May 2023.

In Cymru, we, launched our report on the deepening impact of poverty and the cost-of-living crisis on children, young people and families in Wales. We pushed for, and gave evidence to, an inquiry into radical reform for care experienced young people and their children. We highlighted the importance of early intervention and prevention services, such as our Baby and Me model, as well as the need for therapeutic mental health support for all care experienced young people.  

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