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Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

Can social investment really change the world?

"There are few moments like this when something happens that can really change the world". That was the proclamation of Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude last summer as plans gathered pace to develop the UK market for social investment. Was he going a bit over the top? Perhaps; but only perhaps.

Guidance is vital to turn youth policy into action

Nine months after its conception last March, the government's youth policy arrived into this world six days before Christmas, not exactly kicking and screaming and without much fanfare. Positive for Youth was born after what seemed an interminable but thoroughgoing consultation with the youth sector and young people alike.

League tables can be a force for good if given more care

League tables appear to be flavour of the month. The Department for Education published local authorities' three-year performance averages for children in care against 15 indicators a fortnight ago. And then children's minister Tim Loughton last week signalled his support for league tables for youth services at the Confederation of Heads of Young People's Services annual convention, which would be scored at least in part by young people.

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.

Embarrassing custody rates require creative solutions

The high number of young people held in youth custody in England and Wales has been a cause of national embarrassment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has quite rightly raised concerns at the levels of young people held in our youth jails in its recent reports. Despite impressive reductions in recent years, more than 2,000 under-18s were in custody in May.

Help small charities prove their worth

The Teens and Toddlers programme featured this week has managed to build up a solid evidence base of its effectiveness in helping young people, giving it the opportunity to expand across the UK.

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.

Finally, youth sector receives a boost

Given that he spent seven years limbering up for the job in opposition, there was some relief when Tim Loughton was named as a children's minister in the coalition six months ago.

Harsh lessons in influencing people

The waiting for the comprehensive spending review is finally over but no doubt it will be many months before the true impact of public spending cuts on services for young people will be known.

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