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Wednesday, 05 November 2014

Government name preferred Children's Commissioner candidate

Written by The Press Association

Charity boss Anne Longfield has been named as the Government's preferred candidate to become the next children's commissioner.

In a letter to the cross-party Commons education select committee, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that Ms Longfield was "the strongest candidate" for the post from a "very competitive field".

Ms Longfield (pictured), who is currently chief executive of 4Children, a national charity, will now appear before the select committee for a pre-approval hearing. If approved, she will be formally be offered the position.

She is expected to take up the post in the new year, taking over from current Children's Commissioner Maggie Atkinson, whose five-year term in the role comes to an end in February.

Dr Atkinson's appointment in 2009 sparked a political row when then schools secretary Ed Balls was accused of picking a political supporter for the job after ignoring objections from the education select committee. Mr Balls rejected the claims.

In her letter today to committee chairman Graham Stuart, Ms Morgan said: "Anne has emerged as the strongest candidate from a very competitive field and following an independent and rigorous recruitment exercise.

"This involved two rounds of interviews and meetings between short-listed candidates and a panel of children and young people whose views have been taken into account in our conclusions."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "The Secretary of State for Education has written to the education select committee to inform them of her preferred candidate for the post of children's commissioner.

"The appointment will now be considered by the committee."

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