UK Youth’s CEO Ndidi Okezie OBE backs better collaboration between services for young people

12 December 2023

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UK Youth’s chief executive, Ndidi Okezie OBE has backed calls for better communication and collaboration between services for young people.

Thinktank Demos has released a report urging local authorities and public services to work more closely, highlighting a “fragmented” system, which sees work duplicated and many vulnerable young people unsure where to turn for support, particularly around health and housing, arguing “public services and housing need to be more effectively joined up to improve long-term outcomes for young people and families facing disadvantage”.

Leading national charity UK Youth, which champions the importance of youth work, has repeatedly called for a joined-up cross-sector approach across services impacting young people.

Ndidi Okezie OBE said: “We welcome this report which reinforces what we already know – that working together across sectors and services is key to supporting young people in these difficult times.

Only by working together can we tackle the systemic problems letting young people down

Ndidi Okezie OBE, UK Youth Chief Executive Officer

Headlines from Demos’ report include “a lack of joined-up services is estimated to cost the government between £1.5 billion and £4.3bn every year”, due to “additional use of public services by young people…who did not receive adequate support of early help”, and that “for certain groups in the population, the effect of poor public service provision and delivery is especially damaging”.

It says: “A key problem for those needing to use services is they do not work in a joined-up way. Siloed services stuck in ‘firefighting mode’ are missing the opportunity to take the joined-up and holistic approach which would improve long-term outcomes.”

UK Youth has long campaigned against the detrimental effects of professional fragmentation in the realm of youth support and is embarking on a transformative mission through ‘The Joined-Up Institute’. By 2025, the institute aims to gather 10,000 cross-sector professionals and young individuals in an immersive learning journey which translates evidence into impactful action.

Thousands of educators, youth workers, social care professionals, business leaders, policymakers and more will be supported to convene with young people to exchange insights and proven best practices. With a focus on common themes, including mental health, employability, vulnerable young people and social action, UK Youth asserts now is the time for The Joined-Up Institute, a bold, system-level solution to counteract the prevailing fragmentation negatively affecting the lives of millions of young people.

Ms Okezie said: “Young people in this country are struggling in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. Meaningful learning across all the sectors that work with young people is essential if we are to scale comprehensive and sustainable solutions that evidence has shown will truly support them.

“We know there is a lack of mutual understanding across the various services that impact young people and this fragmentation results in complexities young people themselves are left to try to navigate. To effectively develop young people in the UK, we need a joined-up approach from across the key sectors that exist to support them – only by working together can we tackle the systemic problems letting young people down.”

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