Home Uncategorized The UK Is 169th Out Of 182 Countries On Kids Rights

The UK Is 169th Out Of 182 Countries On Kids Rights

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Our entry into the competition to prove that some people really are mad comes today from the charity Kidsrights Foundation. Who tells us that the UK is 169th in their annual ranking of 182 countries for those kids rights. Note that this is a scale where lower numbers are better.

So, yes, the contention is that the UK is down there with Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Actually, worse than those three. The contention being – amazing as it may seem – that the child experience here is worse than that in a country where if it looks like, amazingly, a girl is not going to die of starvation or disease then they chop her clitoris off. OK, sure, it has been known for clitorectomies to happen in the UK. There have been gangs mass raping teenagers. There are even recorded instances of starvation – the point being that all of those here are rare and we move heaven and earth to prevent them. Even prosecute where they do happen – as opposed to their being just part and parcel of the average life experience.

But of course the UK is worse, eh? Must be, it’s the home of capitalism and imperialism or whatever other fashionable belief infects – perhaps infests – those who created the report.

The Kidsrights Foundation on Tuesday published its annual rankings of children’s rights in 182 countries with Iceland scoring top for the second year running followed by Switzerland, Finland and Sweden.

The UK fared poorly, ranking in 169th place behind countries including Sudan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The country’s poor treatment of Roma and Gypsy children was criticised while the UK’s anti-terrorism strategy, Prevent, was found to have a stigmatising effect on Muslim children.

Stigmatising, eh? That really drags us down the comparisons. Here’s the actual scoring:

UNITED KINGDOM
Kids Rights Index ranking: 169 (score: 0,383)
Health ranking: 30-31 (score: 0,966)
Life ranking: 28 (score: 0,955)
Education ranking: 14 (score: 0,911)
Protection ranking: 33 (score: 0,975)
Environment ranking: 179-182 (score: 0,010)

And the method of scoring:

The KidsRights Index exists of 5 domains:

Right to Life
Right to Health
Right to Education
Right to Protection
Enabling Environment for Child Rights
A country’s total score on the KidsRights Index has been calculated as the geometric average of the scores of the five domains. Each domain has the same weight. The scores for each domain are calculated as the average value of the indicators. To review the score for each domain per country, visit the table below.

Someone better than me at this maths stuff is going to have to check whether that’s actually the correct number they’ve got there.

But clearly it’s the “enabling environment for child rights” that brings the UK score down.

That is made up of:

5. CHILD RIGHTS ENVIRONMENT
• Non-discrimination
• Best interests of the child
• Enabling legislation
• Best available budget
• Respect for the views of the
child/child participation
• Collection and analysis of disaggregate data
• State-civil society cooperation for child rights participation

And:

Domain 5, the ‘Enabling Environment for Child Rights’,
is an important and unique domain of the KidsRights
Index. It reveals the extent to which countries have
operationalized the general principles of the CRC (nondiscrimination; best interests of the child; respect for
the views of the child/participation) and the extent
to which there is a basic ‘infrastructure’ for making
and implementing child rights policy (in the form
of enabling national legislation; mobilization of the
‘best available’ budget; collection and analysis of
disaggregated data; and state-civil society cooperation
for child rights). The scores on domain 5 are derived
from the Concluding Observations adopted by the
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. These
Concluding Observations (COs) finish off the state
reporting procedure under the CRC and represent
the Committee’s views on the level of realization of
children’s rights in a particular country.

And:

1.4 CALCULATION OF SCORE DOMAIN 5
Domain 5 – ‘Child Rights Environment’ – is based on the Concluding Observations adopted by the CRC
Committee. The Committee’s assessment of the country performance on the earlier mentioned 7
indicators that make up domain 5 is used to generate scores on a scale between 1 and 3. The actual
score assigned to each sub-indicator is exclusively based on the language used by the Committee in the
document. The resulting final scores are standardized.
KidsRights Index Scoring System:
Score 1 ‘bad’ = only negative remarks
Score 2 ‘average’ = negative and positive remarks
Score 3 ‘good’ = only positive remarks
NA = not addressed

At which point we’re all a bit confused, right? The clarification is here. New Zealand and the UK are both given that same, exceedingly low, score on that domain 5. Why?

2.3.2 Worldwide, countries allocate insufficient budget for children’s rights
None of the countries in the KidsRights Index score maximally on the indicator best available budget/
resources. Especially noteworthy is that industrialized countries score on average the lowest on this
indicator. Of the 33 countries that have the lowest score on the indicator, 13 are industrialized countries,
including Sweden and Portugal. The fact that industrialized countries score lower than average, likely
is due to the fact that they are expected to be able to allocate resources to the realization of children’s
rights more easily than poorer countries.
As in previous years, in the 2019 Concluding Observations the Committee again regularly called on
states to introduce child rights-based budgeting procedures, including for Australia, Bahrain, Belgium,
Italy, Japan, Malta, Portugal, and Singapore. The observation that austerity policies can lead to a
disproportionate disadvantage for children and that this should be avoided, which the Committee
previously made among others in the Concluding Observations for the Netherlands and the UK, returned
in the 2019 Concluding Observations for Italy and Portugal.

Ahh.

Note that they’re not really talking about how much is spent upon children or their rights. What they are talking about is how much is spent – tagged and earmarked – in considering children’s rights. That is, how much of the budget is there that can be coopted by the sort of people who write reports about children’s rights? This clearly being a very important metric if you are someone who makes their living writing reports about children’s rights.

The complaint is that the UK doesn’t spend enough money on Kidsrights and their friends. Aren’t we just the naughty ones?

The actual message of this report is “Gissa Job”. The correct response to this being “Go boil your head”.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The calculation is fine, but whenever I see the geometric mean in data that are not naturally scaled logarithmically I get suspicious; the geometric mean places a disproportionate weight on a single low-value outlier. If the arithmetic mean (what is generally considered to be “the average” by a layman) is used instead, the value is 0.7634, almost exactly twice the score given by the geometric mean. If the “fiddle factor” where the UK receives a score of 1% (cf 91-98% in the other 4 categories) is excluded, the geometric and arithmetic means are and 0.9514 and 0.9518 respectively.

    Very conveniently for somebody who wanted to reach a conclusion rather than enlighten, use of a geometric mean can lead to a single fiddle factor that is nominally one fifth of the overall score being able to completely override the other results. For example, in a fictitious country the four “real” results could be 31% each and the fiddle factor 99% and the overall score would be 0.3910, thus placed higher than the UK.

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