The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) sets out the economic, social, and cultural rights of individuals. These include rights such as those relating to: 

  • Social security
  • An adequate standard of living, including food and housing
  • Health
  • Education

The UK ratified ICESCR in 1976.


ICESCR is monitored by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee is made up of 18 independent experts from around the world.

The UK was last examined by the Committee in June 2016. It made numerous recommendations about children, including: 

  • Provide data on the impact of social security reforms on women, children, low-income families and families with two or more children.
  • Ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of childcare services.
  • Adopt a child poverty strategy and reinstate child poverty targets;
  • Reduce the attainment gap.
  • Ratify UNCRC Optional Protocol 3.

A new review cycle has since commenced. The UK Government submitted its official report to the Committee in May 2022. This gives an update of steps taken since the 2016 review. 

The Committee is expected to publish its list of follow up questions in March 2023. The UK Government will then have until around March 2024 to submit its official response.

The UK examination is expected to take place later in 2024.