In 2010 the government-supported National Participation Forum produced a ‘strategic vision for youth involvement – An Equal Place at the Table. The document argued for local areas to ensure that the voice of young people is heard in local decision-making and that young people have a role in inspecting and reporting on the quality of service delivery.
UK Youth’s Healthy Young Adult Transitions project (HYAT) has developed a model for how this goal can be achieved. The HYAT project involved a group of young service users (16-24) from across England in a process that identified what they and their peers see as good practice in key health services for young people. HYAT focused on:
- Sexual health and relationships
- Substance misuse
- Mental health and well-being
The young consultants then presented their findings and recommendations to professionals, agencies and politicians around the country. The project demonstrated how using young consultants to seek out the views of their peers is an effective way of supporting health services in their pursuit of excellence.
One particular government priority is to find ways of involving young people in the commissioning of services. A recent Ofsted report identified significant weaknesses in local arrangements for commissioning services for young people and made recommendations. The goal is for all local commissioners to improve their commissioning practice so they can also secure the very best outcomes for young people.
The young consultants have presented to and become involved with service commissioning bodies, LINks (Local Involvement Networks) and NHS Trusts. In several cases this has led to follow up meetings and a longer-term involvement for the young consultant(s) involved. Young consultants are now making sure that their voices are heard in the planning and review of services, including being on LINk boards, involved in interviews.
Look out for upcoming announcements on HYAT publications, with details of the model, insight from young people and practical guidance.
Click here for more on the findings of the HYAT project.
Click here for more about the National Participation Forum.
Click here for the Ofsted discussion paper on Commissioning Services for Young People.