Young inspectors set to evaluate national youth provision

By Joe Lepper

| 26 November 2018

Children will be recruited as young inspectors as part of a government initiative to give them a say over how national youth initiatives are run.

The government is running three pilots to involve young people more in decisions about youth services. Picture: Nigel Hillier

As part of a two-year pilot, the young inspectors will monitor and evaluate national programmes that affect young people, carry out local visits and make recommendations to government on how policy and initiatives can be improved.

A separate pilot will see the creation of a national youth steering group, which will help develop youth policy. This may be through designing campaigns to be presented to policymakers and consulting young people.

And a third pilot will focus on researching how digital technology can be used to improve links between young people and government. This will involve both the steering and young inspector groups. The government is keen to make digital engagement with young people the groups' first major policy project.

Young inspector schemes are already established in some parts of the country, assessing provision including social care, employment schemes and health.

The DCMS is looking for an organistion or partnership of groups to run the pilots and has set aside £170,000 funding to cover the cost. The deadline for applications is 13 December.

The pilots have been welcomed by Young Voices Heard founder James Cathcart.

"It's an opportunity to demonstrate to both ministers and civil servants, and indeed parliament, the value of collaboration on the development and implementation of policy," he said.

The "youth voice" pilots were originally announced as part of the government's civil society strategy, which was published in August.

The civil society strategy also promised a review of statutory guidance that requires councils to provide youth services. This is the first time the guidance has been reviewed since 2012, as part of the coalition government's Positive for Youth policy.

Other measures in the strategy include looking at ways to "fully embed" the National Citizen Service in the wider youth sector, and expand uniformed youth groups in areas of disadvantage.

It also pledges to develop cross-government measures on positive citizenship. In addition, it commits to creating a new, independent organisation to distribute a £90m Big Lottery Fund from dormant bank accounts to help young people find work.

The youth voice pilots are separate to the British Youth Council's Youth Voice initiative, which has been backed by government funding until 2020 and includes the running of the UK Youth Parliament. 

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