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Major investment in public services and a rush to move online. The decade was also marked by major changes in child protection regulation following a series of tragic cases of abuse.

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The tragic spark for child protection reform

The decade began with the shocking murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié by her great-aunt and great-aunt's boyfriend, a death that led to a public inquiry and produced major changes in UK child protection policies and the Every Child Matters (ECM) initiative that launched in 2003. Sir Paul Ennals, chief executive of NCB from 1998 to 2011, was part of the team responsible for developing ECM. You can download and read the original ECM Green Paper here.

The front cover of a government document featuring a government crest and a montage of images of children, young people and adults
The front cover of the government's Every Child Matters Green Paper, published in 2003 in response to a series of tragic child protection cases, including the death of 8 year old Victoria Climbié. CREDIT: Reproduced courtesy of the Open Parliament Licence


A vital hub for bereaved children is launched

The Childhood Bereavement Network is launched, a hub for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families across the UK, hosted by NCB. Find out more about CBN and its amazing work and watch this moving film it made in 2011.

Childhood Bereavement Network logo


United against bullying

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) was formed by NCB and the NSPCC to bring organisations with similar goals together to pool expertise and resources and approach parliamentarians with one voice. It ran the very first Anti-Bullying Week and has continued to do so every year since.

Anti-Bullying Alliance logo

The UK's first minister for children

In 2003, Margaret Hodge became the UK's first Minister for Children and in the same year, after key research and consultation contributions from NCB and CDC, The Children's National Service Framework was born, establishing standards for all children in contact with health services.

Margaret Hodge MP
Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking since 1994, who became the UK's first Minister for Children in 2003. CREDIT: Richard Townshend, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


A group of four adults sat at table in front of an audience
Dame Rachel de Souza, appointed Children's Commissioner for England in 2021, taking part in our All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children event in November 2022, alongside Josh MacAlister, the chair of the Independent Review of Children's Social Care, Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector, and Steve Crocker OBE, president of the Association of Directors of Children's Services.

England's first Children's Commissioner

The first Children’s Commissioner for England was appointed to promote awareness of the views and interests of children, after we played a pivotal role in supporting and guiding a 13-year long campaign of over 130 organisations.


Requiring LAs to improve outcomes for the youngest

The Childcare Act 2006 reformed and simplified the regulatory framework and placed new duties on local authorities to:

1. improve outcomes for under 5s and reduce inequalities,

2. secure sufficient childcare to meet needs, and

3. provide access to information and advice for parents.

Front page of the Childcare Act 2006

Making the case for quality early education

We made significant contributions to the Childcare Act, ensuring high quality early learning and care, better access to early childhood services for under-fives, and the duty to listen to views of young children.

Open for business in NI

We opened our office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which has produced a wealth of influential research, including the first ever large-scale study of the impact of ICT usage on young people’s attainment and played a pivotal role in developing the first Infant Mental Health plan for the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. Read more here.

Front of the NCB Northern Ireland office