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A tumultuous decade of political change, with four general elections and a referendum. For an increasing number of families, the focus amidst these upheavals was keeping heads above water as child poverty soared.

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Committing to tackle child poverty

Watch a clip from a Channel 4 News report from 2011, in which its Social Affairs Editor Jackie Long summarises the findings of a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies that claimed the government’s targets to cut child poverty as laid out in the Child Poverty Act passed a year earlier were unlikely to be met. CREDIT: ITN/Getty Images

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A clip from a Channel 4 News report from 2011 on rising levels of child poverty. CREDIT: Getty Images/ITN

Success after years co-ordinating campaign to end child poverty

The Child Poverty Act came into force after years of lobbying by End Child Poverty campaign, of which NCB was a founding member when the coalition was set up in 2003.

Poverty was identified as a key contributory factor in our 2018 report Children Missing Education, which warned of growing numbers missing school and that many of these children were already at high risk of poor outcomes. NCB was one of the first organisations to highlight the risks for children and the scale of this issue which has, sadly, become even worse.



Using OBA to improve lives of children & young people

We developed a Child Poverty Outcomes Framework for Northern Ireland, a cross-government project and our first using Outcomes Based Accountability, a methodology that has proved hugely significant at a national level in NI.

In 2016, We hosted a global OBA summit in Belfast that was opened by the then First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and a keynote from Head of Civil Service on this new way of working.

The Assembly Committee for the Executive Office hosted an event to mark the close of the Outcomes and Impact Global Summit hosted by NCB which took place in Belfast on 10-11 October 2016. CREDIT: Reproduced with the kind permission of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission
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CDC film: What you need to know about the SEND reforms

Persuading government to take a whole child approach

After extensive NCB lobbying, particularly from CDC and SEC, the 2014 Children and Families Act included provisions that outcomes should be at the heart of all services put in place for disabled children and that a child’s holistic needs should be considered and not just their education needs. The Act marked the introduction of Education Health and Care Plans for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through SEN support.

Giving more children A Better Start

We secured a £36m grant from the National Lottery Community Fund’s A Better Start initiative to lead on, design and deliver a 10-year innovative programme with five partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend to support families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life. In addition, we were asked to host one of those partnerships, the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP).

LEAP logo

Prioritising the wellbeing of school children

NCB assumes responsibility for the Schools' Wellbeing Partnership, a national network of over 50 member organisations from the education, health and wellbeing, and children’s sectors, working together to improve the wellbeing of all children in education. Find out more here.

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A move away from measuring child poverty

In 2016, the Welfare Reform and Work Act repealed much of the Child Poverty Act, although the House of Lords did prevent the government from changing the way child poverty is measured. Peers voted 290 to 192 in favour of an amendment to that forced the Government to continue publishing annual figures on income-related child poverty. Ministers had wanted to scrap income-related measures and replace them with other indicators, including the numbers of children living in workless households.

Warning of dangers of hiding away disabled children

These Are Our Children, a review of the care of disabled children and young people with challenging behaviour and complex mental health needs commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by NCB and CDC Director Dame Christine Lenehan, is published. The review warned that children with complex behavioural and mental health issues were being "hidden and separated from the rest of society."

Dame Christine Lenehan, a hugely influential champion of the rights and needs of children and young people, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities, and a key figure in the development and impact of CDC and NCB. Dame Christine retired from her Director roles at CDC and NCB in September 2023.
Dame Christine Lenehan


United for a better childhood

Our Manifesto for a Better Childhood, developed with children and young people, set out a new, positive vision of childhood, starting in pregnancy and continuing to a young person’s 25th birthday and in the lead up to the General Election, we helped children and young people have their voices heard through the hashtag #IfIWerePM

Read about the development of the manifesto here and watch one of the entries we received to our #IFIWerePM callout

Our Manifesto for a Better Childhood, published in October 2019
Report front cover with title Manifesto for a Better Childhood and smiling young boy