The Labour Party announced in the summer that if they were to be elected at the next General Election, they would reinstate a full statutory youth service: mandating a national body with ring-fenced funding to oversee youth service provision across England.
After consultation with UK Youth Voice, staff and organisations from our member network to ensure your diverse range of experiences and opinions are reflected, we have submitted directly into the consultation and you can read our response below.
National Charter for Youth Work
– What do you think should be the role of a statutory youth service?
The role of a statutory youth service should be to ensure positive outcomes for children and young people through the provision of high quality and universally available non-formal education, informal education and development opportunities.
We propose the following outcomes be set for the statutory youth service:
– Young people thriving in safe, cohesive communities
– Young people treated fairly and given access to equal opportunities
– Young people as active citizens, benefiting from and contributing to society
– Young people in education, training and work to enhance the economy
– Young people politically engaged and building a sustainable future
These outcomes should be achieved through an asset-based approach to youth services, with the emphasis being that children and young people are capable and able to overcome barriers and solve their own issues when they are given access to appropriate education, training, support and opportunities.
Youth services are most effective when they are designed and delivered as part of a wider eco system of provision. The new statutory youth service must therefore be designed with this in mind and take account of the myriad other services many young people interact with in their day to day lives, ranging from formal education and social services, to criminal justice, health care, housing and benefits.
We should also be mindful of the many activities and opportunities young people can benefit from that are not traditionally considered part of the statutory youth sector, including sports clubs, art and drama groups, social enterprises, after school clubs and uniformed youth groups. These activities all contribute to the richness of a young persons’ social development journey and, like more traditional youth services, they should be accessible, affordable, open to all, and encouraged by the central youth organisation.
– What amendments, if any, should be made to the principles outlined in the draft National
Charter for Youth Work?
Our recommendation is to move away from describing the Labour Party offer as a ‘National Charter for Youth work’. We recommend a bolder, more ambitious approach that goes beyond traditional youth work to encompass a broad range of touch points in a young persons’ life. We would re-brand it a ‘National Charter for Children and Young people’. We call on the Labour Party to consider the following National Charter for Children and Young People to form the foundation of the new statutory youth service.
1. Young people have the right to live in safe, welcoming communities
2. Young people have the right to fair and equal treatment
3. Young people have the right to access vital services and opportunities for advancement
4. Young people have the right to learn, work and contribute to the economy
5. Young people have the right to influence issues that matter to them
In order to deliver on this vision, the Labour Party would need to design an appropriately funded strategic delivery framework. UK Youth have consulted widely across the youth sector to understand and articulate what such a framework might look like.
We propose building a strategic delivery framework around three interconnected pillars;
– Influence – Amplify and act on the voices of young people
– Opportunity – An offer that is accessible to every young person, everywhere
– Quality – Safe, appropriate, high-quality services for young people
These pillars encompass informal education, non-formal education and development opportunities for young people. They have been created from the perspective of a young person, rather than through the lens of any current or pre-existing youth work delivery framework.
In building a statutory youth service around three simple pillars, it becomes easier to identify key priorities, set outcome targets, measure progress, and communicate the offer in a compelling way to the electorate.