In 2012 the Coalition Government published their vision for young people ‘Positive for Youth’, which confirmed their intention to retain the duty on Local Authorities (Section 6 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006), to:-
- Secure, as far as is practicable, sufficient services and activities to improve the wellbeing of young people
- Take account of young people’s views on services and activities available to them
- Publicise information about what is available
In July 2012the DFE went on to publish revised guidance to LocalAuthorities in July 2012 confirming their duty to secure, though not necessarily to deliver, services and activities, to improve the wellbeing of young people. Delivery was seen as by a range of organisations in the private sector, the voluntary community and faith sector as well as in the local authoriy.
Currently with financial cutbacks to LA services in some areas VCFS organisations have been expected to pick up the delivery, in some they have been contracted to do so and in some areas the LA and VCFS are working in partnership to try and ensure that young people have access to a broad range of activities and services.
The DFE guidance broadened the range of services and approaches included in previous ‘positive activities’ guidance. This now includes community activity and volunteering along with personal and social development and creative and sporting activities. Importantly, youth work is identified as a key element of provision.
Activities were linked to the resilience capabilities identified through the Young Foundation’s Framework for Outcomes for Services for Young People. There was also a strong emphasis on young people having a voice in the design and monitoring of provision to see that it meets their needs. Local Authorities were urged to ensure they have a structured arrangement for hearing the voice of young people.
While the guidance does not define sufficiency nationally – indeed the localism bill means that LAs will have to decide this for themselves. However it does address sufficiency, listing the wide range of services they would expect to be included, and encouraging local authorities to benchmark their provision against local and statistical neighbours, and availing themselves of support and challenge from within the sector and beyond.
On 1st December 2016 the Youth Work Unit hosted a Yorkshire and Humber Youth Policy Forum in Doncaster to enable Youth Sector representatives from across our region to contribute to National Policy development. The findings from the forum were passed to DCMS as part of their consultation processes to ensure that voices from Yorkshire and Humber are heard. Talks are underway with young people’s representatives to feed into the process.