Terms of reference

The terms of reference for 2015 for the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission

The terms of reference capture the legislative requirements as set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010 (as amended through the Welfare Reform Act 2012) and the commitments set out in the social mobility strategy Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers published on 5 April 2011.

The Report

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission must publish an annual report:

A. setting out its views on the progress made towards the goals of:

(a) improving social mobility in the United Kingdom, and

(b) reducing child poverty in the United Kingdom, and in particular—

(i) meeting the targets in sections 3 to 6 of the Child Poverty Act 2010 in relation to the target year, and

(ii) implementing the most recent UK strategy;

B. describing the measures taken by the – (a) Scottish Ministers in accordance with a Scottish strategy; (b) Welsh Ministers in accordance with a Welsh strategy.

The Commission will share the sections of its report impacting on and covering Wales and Scotland with Welsh and Scottish Ministers respectively, on a confidential basis, prior to publication.

The annual report will be published as one document on Social Mobility and Child Poverty.

The annual report must be published by the extended deadline of 18 December 2015 unless the Commission requests and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Deputy Prime Minister agree to extend the publication deadline.

The report will be laid before Parliament by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Advice

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of State for Schools will jointly agree if they wish to direct the Commission to carry out any other activity relating to the goals of improving social mobility in the United Kingdom, and reducing child poverty in the United Kingdom.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of State for Schools will jointly agree if they wish to direct the Commission to provide advice on how to measure socio-economic disadvantage, social mobility and child poverty. Any such advice must be published.

Any advice produced by the Commission should cover the impact upon Devolved Administrations to reflect policy and legislative responsibility in both devolved and non-devolved matters.

Requests for advice and other activity will be made via the Departmental Sponsor who is the Head of the Child Poverty Unit.

Research

The Head of the Child Poverty Unit will hold £100,000 budget for the Commission for research (see finance section below). The Commission may request that Ministers (the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Minister of State for Schools) carry out or commission research for the purpose of the carrying out of the Commission’s functions. Agreement to any such requests will be required from all three Ministers.

Social Mobility Advocacy

The Commission will need to undertake activities to act as an advocate for social mobility: making the case for organisations across wider society to play their part in improving life chances and challenging them to continue to make progress (for example considering the role of the professions, other employers, universities and the voluntary sector in improving social mobility). Where this impacts upon devolved responsibilities, the Commission will need to take account of the policies and views of Welsh and Scottish Ministers.

Finance

The Head of the Child Poverty Unit will issue a formal allocation letter each financial year to the Commission to confirm its budget allocation and headcount limit. This will give the Commission the authority to spend up to the value of the allocation letter, with the exception of the research budget which is ring fenced and can only be accessed through prior agreement with the Departmental Sponsor. The headcount limit must also not be breached. The Commission Secretariat, in conjunction with the Sponsor Team, will need to monitor and report on expenditure against budget on a monthly basis.

Departmental Sponsor

The Head of the Child Poverty Unit is the main point of contact between the Commission and the respective Departments, and will act as the main source of advice to Ministers.