ChildPact’s Simplicity Campaign has started

Photography credits: Christian Schnettelker (http://www.manoftaste.de/)

Simplicity Campaign is an activity of the project “Young With A Voice”, funded by the European Commission, through the Civil Society Facility, and implemented on behalf of ChildPact by Open Club Serbia and its partners: BKTF Albania, Naša Djeca Association Zenica from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Children First Montenegro and KOMF Kosovo.

The campaign follows a series of 5 workshops that explored ideas and strategies for simplifying the legislative and bureaucratic framework in child protection by removing unnecessary hurdles.

BACKGROUND

Recently, the need to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the legislation started to be discussed at European level. In 2011, the Munro Report, commissioned by the UK government, showed that procedures and paperwork became more important than actually safeguarding the children. Professionals within child protection spend over 60% of their time in front of computer screens, filling out documents. One of the recommendations the report made was that social workers should be freed from excessive bureaucracy to give them more time to do face-to-face work with families and youngsters at risk of marginalisation.

Better Regulation is an EU initiative for the business sector, meant to ensure that new legislation is designed in a way that reduces bureaucracy and considers the unintended and adverse consequences. One of its objectives is to simplify legislation by reducing the administrative burden that companies and small & medium enterprises (SME) are facing. The EU initiative response to business representatives complaining about the excess of bureaucracy they have to handle.

Various stake-holders – child protection professionals, decision makers, parents, children themselves – inform us that bureaucracy is now at a level that actually denies the rights that children have according to law. A ‘Better Regulation’ initiative is needed for the social field, namely for the child protection legislation, at European and national levels. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the application for child allowance is so complicated that many parents cannot possibly meet the bureaucratic requirements, which leaves thousands of children who live in extreme poverty without any type of support, even when they are entitled to such. A missing joint framework between social protection and health care systems is one of the causes for medical mistreatment of vulnerable children in Montenegro. These are just two examples of complicated bureaucratic procedures that are harming the beneficiaries of a system that is supposed to protect and serve them.

SIMPLICITY CAMPAIGN

The Simplicity Campaign is our response to an unbearable bureaucratic context that denies our children the rights that are sanctioned for them in national legislation and international conventions such as the United Nations Convention for the Right of the Child. Professionals, parents and youngsters are invited to bring their examples about how overly complicated procedures negatively impact their lives. The objective of the campaign is to collect stories about these procedures and develop ideas about how to simplify them. These ideas will be afterwards be discussed with decisions makers and ChildPact members will advocate jointly for the simplification of the current legislation and administrative rules that impact the well-being of children.

Send us stories about harmful bureaucratic procedures to herlea@childpact.org and we will reply shortly. Help us fight the bureaucratic beast!