Young voices must be heard in decisions on youth service provision, says DfE

Neil Puffett
Monday, March 5, 2012

Local authorities must take into account the views of young people when making decisions about youth services, draft revised guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) has stated.

The guidance, which will be subject to a consultation until 25 May, specifies that the government "will not prescribe which services and activities authorities should fund or deliver or to what level".

However, it sets out 11 suggestions of what authorities should be doing, including supporting parents and communities to support young people’s needs "wherever possible" and consider how programmes such as the National Citizen Service can contribute to meeting need.

It also states that authorities should determine which services and facilities can be met "through other means" so public funding is targeted on young people at risk of poor outcomes.

It goes on to state that the views of young people will be used, in part, to determine whether services are sufficient.

Children’s minister Tim Loughton said: "We want all young people to achieve in school, college or apprenticeships, develop their unique character and ambitions and turn away from crime and drugs.

"This government recognises the important role that out-of-school services play in the lives of many young people.

"We have therefore retained the duty on local authorities to ensure there are sufficient services locally to help young people when they need it.

"We want to give young people the keys to the town hall so their views drive what services are funded for them and they can inspect their quality. We want voluntary bodies to have a chance to play their part.

"I hope that as many organisations as possible will respond to our consultation on revised statutory guidance on this duty."

Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, described the consultation as "a key opportunity" for young people, and those committed to the wellbeing of young people.

"The needs of young people should be at the forefront of decision-making and service planning for every local authority," she said.

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