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Bureaucracy is a brick wall to recruitment

I got a text message the other day that is worth repeating almost in full: "Hi h how's you doin, hope your well. I was thinking of probation work or youth work. would you be able to point me in the right direction. the plastering has gone really bad nothing at all. and im getting very stressed out. If you can that would be fab. much love Nathan. take care x"

Riot response requires long-term solutions, not knee-jerk policies

The violence across English cities this month triggered its own riot - of condemnation, debate and knee-jerk policy pronouncements. In the days that followed the first outbreak in Tottenham, an exercise in national soul searching took place through the media. Yours truly, for one, did the breakfast TV paper review on Sky News.

Progress in joint working must go on

The decision last week to strip the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) of government funding will inevitably raise concerns that any genuine "development" of the workforce will stall. A plan for how the Department for Education intends to take forward the quango's work is yet to be articulated.

Some young people need non-negotiable support

As Anne Weinstock left the Department for Children, Schools and Families last year, she made a plea for sustained support for the "triple track" approach pioneered during her time as head of the Youth Taskforce.

The old rules still apply in the online world

Like many youth workers, I use online social networks. A while back I took the decision to use these networks as a "work profile", that is, to treat any interactions that occur online as part of my job.

Cut traffic speed to make cycling safer

When I was about 10 a car came around the corner of a quiet country lane and knocked me flying off my bicycle. Fortunately, I went into the hedge and the bike went into the middle of the road.

It can be better to text than to talk

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) research on positive activities released at the end of August made for interesting reading. Back in March, the DCSF conducted interviews with 72 pairs of young people aged between 13 and 19. The purpose of the research was to understand the motivators and barriers to young people participating in positive activities, and to find the most effective ways in encouraging young people to participate.

Yell out about youth work's success

The New Labour years were hardly characterised by profligacy in spending on young people's services. It was generally only the most deprived areas that received more than 100 a head to spend on providing youth services.

A robust case for early intervention

Among the flurry of government announcements to come out in the dying days of this Parliament, last week's long-awaited early intervention paper is the most important.

The Myplace fund is a missed opportunity

Much has been made about the transformative effect the Myplace fund will have on youth facilities in England, yet little has been said about whether this is truly the best way to spend this money.

Palestine's young people can lead the way

At the end of January, the Council of Europe held a seminar with the League of Arab States on the development and implementation of youth policy in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Universal and targeted armies wage war

I was asked the other day where I stood on striking the balance between universal and targeted provision in youth work. I smiled at the juxtaposition. Such a stark division has caused a lot of argument, heartache and grief at ideological and political levels, and in policy and practice. It allows for the drawing up of battle lines: on the one side, those advocating value for money and reaching those somehow objectively assessed as most "in need", on the other, those espousing open doors, thus enabling responsiveness to all forms of "need" as subjectively expressed.

The beautiful game has started to turn ugly

In one of the first discussions on youthful antisocial behaviour during the 1990s, I noted in a speech that most of the lads' magazines tended to be preoccupied with half-naked women and bad-boy footballers.

Will sanctions or support ward off trouble?

One element of the "triple track" response in the new Youth Taskforce Action Plan is the idea of non-negotiable support. Some will immediately baulk at the concept: surely support has to be wanted to be effective?

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