Involving children and young people in developing social care

Case study 7: Triangle

Service provided by organisation

Triangle is a specialist childhood disability organisation, established in 1997, providing training and consultancy to individuals and organisations throughout the UK, and outreach support to children and young people in the south of England. All Triangle's work is with and on behalf of disabled children, and consultation with children and young people is built in both internally, through consultation groups to inform their work, and externally, through specific consultation work for other organisations.

Characteristics of children/young people involved

There are three internal consultation groups divided roughly by age but with some flexibility: one for children up to age 10, one for children aged 9-15, and one for young people aged 15-25. There are approximately 40 regular members, with an even gender mix, and a third of the children are from ethnic minorities. All the children and young people in the two older groups are disabled; the younger group is inclusive (about half the group have particular needs).

The majority (80 per cent) of Triangle's consultation work comprises external work engaging children and young people outside these groups. Through this, Triangle has consulted with more than 1,200 disabled children and young people across the UK.

How participation has been developed

Triangle involves children and young people in a range of decisions - from how the groups are run and what services the organisation should develop to staff recruitment. All work undertaken for external organisations is done with the commitment of the commissioners to take action on those issues raised through the work.

Younger children are rewarded with vouchers, while older young people are paid either hourly or per session, depending on their involvement and the activity. A participation budget incorporates travel expenses, support costs, venues, resources and staff time. The two older consultation groups help manage their own budgets.

The organisation has a fully accessible room, adapted to support children and young people with a variety of needs. Staff within the project are able to communicate with children using a wide variety of methods to ensure everyone's opinion is valued.

In addition to the consultation groups, the organisation facilitates consultation with children and young people for external agencies on a range of issues and services. These consultations are preceded by contact with the children and their parents to ensure that both understand what the work involves and the importance of participation.

All staff within the project are responsible for involving children and young people. This is emphasised in job descriptions, training and the company's mission statement. An internal review was completed this year.

Changes or improvements as a result of children and young people's participation

'You can see this through the way in which Triangle has grown as an organisation.' (Young person)

'The main thing was the opportunity to gain employment, which is especially difficult for disabled people.' (Young person)

Evidence of outcomes from participation

The project has produced the following documentation to evidence the development of participation:

Contact details

Contact person and role: Ruth Marchant (co-director)

Address: Unit E1, The Knoll Business Centre, Old Shoreham Road, Hove, East Sussex BN3 7GS.

Telephone: 01273 413 141