Birmingham City Council has made a commitment to find the best solutions to reduce child poverty. In May 2015, the Council set up The Birmingham Child Poverty Commission to explore the circumstances that create child poverty; the impact it has on children and families and crucially, to identify solutions that mitigate against the effects of child poverty in Birmingham.
The Child Poverty Action Forum is intended to follow on from the Birmingham Child Poverty Commission that was established in 2015 and published its Report in June 2016.
The Commission was keen to ensure that, as well as arriving at a clear set of recommendations for practical ways to combat child poverty in the city, it would also leave a legacy of political and policy involvement in future activities to continue to monitor and combat child poverty. The intention of the Forum is to provide a focus for this over the next few years, to ensure that child poverty remains a matter of policy concern and practical action across the city.
The Commission was comprised of national and local experts, as well as councillors and officers. It was independently chaired and had cross-party support, as well as including representatives from key partner agencies in the city. The Forum will continue to include Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality : Leader of the Conservative Group and Liberal Democrats and senior officers, and other local members of the Commission. It will be chaired by Pete Alcock (Emeritus Professor at University of Birmingham), with Dr Jason Wouhra (Regional Chair of Institute of Directors) as Vice Chair, and supported by Suwinder Bains from Birmingham City Council. But the intention is to include a wider range of representatives from local agencies and organisations concerned about, or active in challenging, child poverty in the city, including people from the public, private and voluntary sectors in the city.
The Forum will initially meet quarterly. It will identify and share information about activities and initiatives relevant to child poverty across the city and develop collective approaches to mitigate the effects of child poverty. A dedicated website will be established to provide an online resource for information about child poverty in the city.