Involving children and young people in developing social care

Case study 14: Dumfries and Galloway Youth Strategy Executive Group, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Service provided by organisation

The Youth Strategy Executive Group was established in 1997 to involve young people in strategic development, service planning, service delivery, research, policy development and evaluation within the council.

Characteristics of children/young people involved

Currently approximately 45 young people are involved in the group, aged between 14 and 25 years old. It is an open group: there are no elections and young people may join at any time.

How participation has been developed

The Youth Strategy Executive Group was established to provide young people with genuine opportunities to influence, rather than just be consulted. The group meets regularly on its own to discuss council business and meets with councillors five times a year. It highlights issues to raise with the council, carries out research on services within the region, is involved in senior council appointments, organises an annual youth conference, and has been consulted by various council departments. A significant area of work has been the Youth Strategy Development Fund where the group has made decisions about applications from local young people, in the process funding over 60 local projects.

The group has its own office at the council to which all group members have ongoing access. There is a specific budget for the group, which is used for a variety of purposes including supporting the local youth conference, attendance at other conferences, the youth festival, and the costs of young people's involvement and training, such as 'BORED meeting training', a training pack for young people on running meetings.

As well as the Youth Strategy Executive Group, there are subgroups including: the Promises Group (young people who evaluate local services that have received council funding), and the Hack Pack Writing Group (young people who write for the Dumfries and Galloway local pages on a national website.) The group is currently working to develop a young people's vision for the region.

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

' [ Young people ] have their say. Before, young people were overlooked in consultation, so an opportunity to have their say.' (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: Ian Donaldson (youth strategy coordinator)

Address: Council Offices, English Street, Dumfries DG1 2PS

Telephone: 01387 260 041