The Lundy Model

Enabling the meaningful participation of children and young people globally: The Lundy Model

Since 2014, the Lundy model of child participation, based on four key concepts (Space, Voice, Audience and Influence), has been used and adopted by national and international organisations, agencies and governments to inform their understanding of children’s participation, generating a sea-change in global understanding of child rights-based participation for both policy and practice.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires governments to ensure that children’s rights are respected.

Research on the implementation of the CRC was undertaken for the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) to inform his priorities for office. The remit was to identify areas where children’s rights were ignored or underplayed. The team conducted interviews with over 1000 children and 350 adult stakeholders.

The NICCY study identified a lack of compliance with Article 12 of the UNCRC (children’s right to have their views given due weight) as one of the cross-cutting issues affecting children in all aspects of their lives, including education. Children and young people consistently reported frustration that their views were not being listened to and taken seriously. One of the factors which appeared to hinder the full realisation of the right was the fact that the precise nature of Article 12 was not fully understood by CRC duty-bearers.

Article 12 It is often described under the banner of 'the voice of the child', ‘pupil voice’ or 'the right to be heard', but these can misrepresent and indeed undermine the rights of children and young people. In view of this, Professor Laura Lundy, drawing on the research for NICCY, proposed a model for rights-compliant children’s participation which offers a legally sound but practical conceptualisation of Article 12 of the CRC.  This model suggests that implementation of Article 12 requires consideration of four inter-related concepts:

  • SPACE: Children must be given the opportunity to express a view
  • VOICE: Children must be facilitated to express their views
  • AUDIENCE: The view must be listened to.
  • INFLUENCE: The view must be acted upon, as appropriate.

The Lundy model has been used to transform the ways in which the views and experiences of children across the world are heard at the United Nations.

Its promotion, adoption and implementation have contributed directly to ensuring that the United Nations, governments, and national and international organisations involve children, right across the world, meaningfully in the decisions that affect their lives. 

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