A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
Over recent months the YWU’s regular networks and strategic meetings have fallen away with the pressures on Local Authorities (LAs) and voluntary sector bodies alike. Some are no longer able to subscribe to the YWU and others are often under pressure to remain within their organisation not using time or money to travel to external events.
However last week saw 13 of the region’s LA youth services, as well as two youth work HEIs and a range of voluntary organisations come to learn more from the Cabinet Office (CO) about their role, given their responsibility for youth policy from summer 2013. Those present included a Director of Children’s Services, Assistant Directors, Heads of Service, VYS CEOs, course leaders and others all interested and concerned about the current state of youth work and youth services particularly given the current issues facing young people.
Richard had been pleased to accept the YWU’s invitation as he seeks to learn more about youth services by meeting with those involved both strategically, and practically from all across the country. He informed those present that the CO Youth Policy team was made up of 12 people, a mix of civil servants and others bringing external experience, though none from a youth work background. The team works closely with a number of Government Departments, and are also focusing on the National Citizen Service (NCS), on vulnerable young people, on Local Services and on evidence and impact measurement.
Specifically, Richard presented the key themes to emerge from the survey carried out in November 2013 into the LA statutory duty ‘to secure services and activities for young people aged 13 – 19 to improve their well-being’. I thought others may be interested in these too. In brief the main themes to emerge from the survey were:
Following Richard’s presentation there was an open, robust and broad discussion which covered strengthening the duty, localism, outcomes and measurement, historic evidence, NCS, etc but there was also a clear reality check about what could be expected from a government with the current focus on austerity, on NCS as a flagship policy, on reducing the state and on localism, outcomes and evidence. While this may not have been what people wanted to hear, it was helpful to those planning and designing local services to have a clear understanding of the CO position and direction.
Miriam Jackson CEO Youth Work Unit – Yorkshire and the Humber