Giving Young People A Greater Say
The new Chairman of a West Sussex County Council Scrutiny Committee has spoken of the importance of giving young people a greater say in decisions that affect them.
County Councillor Richard Burrett was speaking after his first meeting as Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee.
During a discussion about proposed changes to youth services in West Sussex, the Committee heard from two teenagers who had benefited from anger management programmes they had been referred to because of issues in their lives such as bullying.
Councillors also heard from representatives of the West Sussex Youth Cabinet.
Richard said: “I know that Committee members found it really useful and informative to hear first hand from young people who described very eloquently their experiences of the benefits they received from intensive support.
“We listened to the feedback from the Youth Cabinet as we always value their comments and will continue to improve our consultation with young people about changes that impact on their lives.
“I am particularly keen to ensure that we really do have an open dialogue with young people, and that they feel they can help shape and influence the decision-making process.”
The Select Committee reviewed the progress being made on working with communities and the voluntary sector to support universal youth provision as West Sussex County Council youth provision moves to more preventative and targeted early intervention services aimed at young people at risk.
Members also discussed proposals for making a further £2 million in savings from the Youth Services budget over the next three financial years.
The Committee was told that this will lead to much more targeted services than originally proposed aimed at supporting the most vulnerable and at risk young people.
The Committee –
• Recognised the external funding constraints impacting on the Youth Service.
• Was concerned about the impact of ongoing uncertainty about the future of the service for staff and the users of the service.
• Accepted the feedback provided by representatives from the Youth Cabinet that more could be done to consult with, and include input from, representatives of young people when proposals, which impact on services they use are considered.
• Will consider how young people can contribute to the future work of the Select Committee.
Richard added: “We also welcomed the commitment from the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Peter Evans, that he would seek to work more closely with representatives of young people.
“There is no doubt that the way youth services are delivered is going through a rapid period of change, and the Committee will be regularly reviewing progress.”