Barnardo's in Westminster

Working with government to achieve better outcomes for more children.

As the UK’s largest national children’s charity, we have first-hand experience of the issues faced by children and young people across the country. We use that experience to campaign for change and influence central and local government to achieve better outcomes for more children.

To change lives, we need to change laws

We campaign to raise public awareness of the issues affecting children and young people and we influence government using our own evidence-based research to make change happen.

Our campaigns and influencing are currently focused on:

Our recent influencing work in Westminster

Over the summer, we published our report, Invisible Children, setting out how the cost-of-living crisis and school holidays can impact child sexual and criminal exploitation. Through Freedom of Information requests, new evidence revealed a concerning lack of specialist support services for victims of child sexual and criminal exploitation. 

We also published our report, A Warm Welcome, in Parliament which set out a blueprint for a welcoming movement to all children and young people who enter the UK seeking asylum. Baroness Lister directly quoted a letter in the House of Lords written by a group of young people we support during a debate on the Illegal Migration Bill.  

In March, Jake and Dasha, alongside Barnardo’s CEO Lynn Perry and actress Michelle Collins, delivered a petition with over 32,000 signatures to No 10 calling on the Government to roll out free school meals for all primary school pupils in England. Jake (22) and Dasha (16) have worked with Barnardo’s for several years and share their thoughts on the petition and the experience of visiting Downing Street in this blog.

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Our key achievements in 2022-23

  • 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 published our report, Transport for Freedom, which made the case for all care leavers aged 18-25 to receive free bus travel in England. Transport Minister, Richard Holden, held discussions with care leavers on the pilot for free Cornish bus travel for care leavers and the case for this being adopted across the country. Following the visit, Cornwall Council voted to permanently adopt free bus travel for care leavers in the county. During National Care Leavers Week 2023, the West of England Combined Authority announced it will be introducing free bus travel for care leavers. In another vote of confidence for our policy call, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced that from early 2024, care-leavers aged 18-25 who live in London will receive half price bus and tram fare.  
  • We published new research, It's hard to talk - expanding Mental Health Support Teams in education, which made the case for expanding effective, early intervention for children and young people experiencing mental health issues. Our findings showed that the Government would save £1.90 for every £1 invested in Mental Health Support Teams in schools.  
  • We published new research, A crisis on our doorstep, which exposed the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on children, young people and families across the UK. 

Championing children in Parliament 

We know young people want to be heard. As a Parliamentarian, you can champion their voices by:

  • asking questions
  • holding debates
  • hosting events (virtually or in-person)

You can also get involved in your local community by:

  • visiting a Barnardo’s service
  • volunteering in a shop 
  • attending a local event

Contact us

To organise a meeting, speak to someone about our work, or to arrange a visit, contact the Policy Team at [email protected]

Follow us on Twitter @barnardosnews for all of our most recent policy and media updates.