Updated paper from the Network of Regional Youth Work Units
This call is far from surprising and we welcome the pragmatic approach of the LGA as part of their Brighter Futures campaign. It’s a clear argument that puts NCS, with other programmes, as part of a systemic local pathway for young people and is perhaps long overdue. From the perspective of the regional youth networks this is something we have been flagging up for a while, last year we called out for a redistribution to be part of the youth strategy from DCMS.
Moving forward, we should not side-line this debate into it being a one-dimensional discussion on NCS. We need a clear vision for youth policy, one that is cross-departmental, supported by adequately resourcing the range of services needed to support young people’s successful transition into adulthood. NCS needs to be part of a portfolio of provision that can adequately address the diverse needs of a young person. This is not about new models or new structures. It is about how we, collectively as a sector, can address the current and emerging needs of young people.
The complexity of young people’s lives and the issues that they are now faced with require more sophisticated and integrated solutions. Single, stand-alone programmes can no longer adequately address the needs of young people. It is only through integrated, flexible and person centre provision that we will begin to tackle some of the significant issues that young people are facing.
The current context for youth provision has changed in the time since NCS started. Provision was diversified and much of the direct open access provision for young people is now delivered by the voluntary youth sector. There is an emerging new local infrastructure for youth provision which any reallocated or new funding needs to consider. Local authorities should continue to have a role in developing youth provision, but it is with a range of equal partners such as the voluntary and social enterprise sector, health, uniformed services etc.
What we are advocating is a place-based, person-centred approach – one which includes the local authority, voluntary youth sector, young people and other sectors in a partnership of equals, to provide an integrated, comprehensive solution to addressing the needs of young people. Supported by an investment in the workforce so that people working with young people are fully equipped with the skills they need to meet young people’s needs.
Should government allocate 95% of the national spending on health services on one narrow age group, using one single type of intervention, there would be an outcry. So why do it with youth services? As the agenda on intergenerational fairness gathers force, there is a moral imperative to have a strong youth narrative that focuses on investing in young people, one certainty is that they will be running this country in the future, so who doesn’t fully endorse the LGA Vision?
‘Our vision is for all young people to enjoy their lives, reach their full potential and make a good transition to adulthood. They should be able to achieve their ambitions, develop positive relationships and make worthwhile contributions to their communities.’
More details about the network can be downloaded here.
More details on the Governments Civil Society Strategy can be downloaded here