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On May 17th the Office published its Annual Report 2021 called Resilience Tested. We gave it that name because throughout the pandemic a lot of people, mainly adults, said that children were 'resilient'- that they were able to adapt well to, and handle change. But after putting up with lots of restrictions on school life and seeing friends and family, children were really put to the test in 2021.
“Why are annual reports interesting?” you say. Annual reports are important because they are the official record of the work of the office that must be presented to the Dáil. Annual Reports give information about an organisation's performance over a year. It tells the story of a year in the life of an organisation and shows if the organisation is doing what it set out to do.
This year’s annual report reflected the rocky year that many people had in 2021, largely due to Covid. 908 of the 2126 complaints made to the office related to Covid. A lot of the complaints were about education (53% to be exact). This is understandable as children spend most of their waking hours in school. 10% of the complaints about education related to bullying.
The Annual Report also highlighted the Office bringing out pieces of work on Direct Provision, travellers and children with disabilities.
At the Annual Report Launch, two young people, Ciaran and Jimmy, spoke about their time on the OCO’s Youth Advisory Panel, the changes the panel had made, how their involvement in the group affected them. They talked about the success of their work on period poverty, their involvement in advising on the OCO’s strategic plan and their work on
the UNCRC Children’s Report. Jimmy spoke about the benefit of having a safe space to discuss issues in and Ciaran talked about how much his confidence has grown since he joined the Youth Advisory Panel.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when they were done talking!
You can watch the Annual Report 2021 launch here.