Involving children and young people in developing social care
Case study 8: Voice and Influence of Young People Team, Cornwall Youth Service
Service provided by organisation
Cornwall Youth Service created the Voice and Influence Team in 2000 to develop its structures to consult with young people. The team's role is to ensure that participation is promoted within youth projects and the council, to support and facilitate district and countywide youth forums and to increase training and education opportunities for young people. It has a specific partnership project with social services for the voices of young people in care.
Characteristics of children/young people involved
Approximately 100 young people aged 13-19 are involved in the six district youth forums and the county youth forum. There is an even gender mix and the majority of members are white.
How participation has been developed
A Voice and Influence Development Plan sets out the team's aims about participation, the structure of staff and young people's involvement and identifies future work. The team has identified an individual responsible for developing participation, which is reflected in their job description. Although staff do not receive training about participation, they do deliver training about participation and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to local authority staff.
The team has a specific budget for participation, which includes transportation costs. Youth forum news and development is highlighted in biannual newsletters that are distributed to secondary schools, youth projects and key partner agencies.
The core group of young people involved in the county youth forum has developed a manifesto that it has used to inform links, at a strategic level, with police, transport companies, health services and various strategic partnerships. The county youth forum runs a number of projects including: Promoting Active Democracy Loudly (PADL), where young people deliver training workshops to teachers and students; and Dreams to Reality, a fund managed by forum members to allocate grants to local young people to set up their own projects.
District youth forums focus on local issues and are regularly involved in consultations. Training is provided to forum members on residential courses and is delivered by experienced forum members. Members of the county youth forum review their progress annually, and elements of their work have been evaluated externally.
Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation
- the funding and establishment of projects run by and for young people
- young people taking more of a leading role in the management of the youth forums
- young people's involvement in staff recruitment within the youth service, health service, social services and the police
- raised profile of participation within the youth service, the police and health services through the development of the manifesto.
Evidence of outcomes from participation
The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:
- job descriptions tjat include reference to the importance of participation
- Voice and Influence Development Plan
- Cornwall Youth Forums newsletter
- youth service outcomes poster
- external evaluation reports on training, PADL and the Participation and Advocacy Project
Contact person and role: Nicky Davey (senior youth worker)
Address: 8a Truro Business Park, Threemilestone, Truro TR4 9NH
Telephone: 07968 892 752