CHARTER OF COMMITMENT TO A CORPORATE YOUTH STRATEGY PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN DECISION MAKING Report prepared by: - Geoff Kirkman - Police Authority Consultative Team PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN DECISION MAKING CHARTER OF COMMITMENT A CORPORATE YOUTH STRATEGY Charter of Commitment That the City Council and Partner Agencies, together with young people, subscribe to a Charter of Commitment to the involvement of young people in decision making. The Charter should show the commitment of City Council and other Partner Organisations to involve young people in decision making. The Charter should also indicate the City Councils and Partner Agencies commitment to a CORPORATE YOUTH STRATEGY and the setting up of a SALFORD YOUTH PARTNERSHIP, including appropriate staffing training and a youth issue budget. N.B. It should be noted that any proposed change should be incremental and recognize that this does not always need political change. Working in partnership Salford City Council and Organisations forming the Salford Youth Partnership, who work with children, young people and the community, will be committed to working together in equal and inclusive partnerships with children and young people to plan, deliver and review all services that impact on their lives and wellbeing, promoting their best interests and enhancing their quality of life. In all of our work we will incorporate best practice. We will be guided by Equal Opportunity Policies and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Children Act 1989, Human Rights Act 1998, the Citizenship agenda and Best Value. Local Agenda 21, existing consultation with young people and the results of the “Chipping In” conference in September 2000, will be used as a means of promoting participation. Key principles - Adults do not always know best and we will listen to and learn from what children and young people have to say. This means creating opportunities for children and young people to have a voice in all decisions, which affect them. - Different organizations must be prepared to work together to do what’s best for children and young people and seek to break down professional and political barriers, challenge prejudice and develop real partnerships. - We will make sure that all children and young people get a fair chance and that we do not make it difficult for some groups to get the best from the services available. We will think carefully about issues which don’t seem directly to be about children and young people, but which might affect them, in addition to issues, which do seem directly to impact on children and young people Key Recommendations: Source: - “Chipping In” Conference September 2000 a) That the City Council and Partner organizations should commit themselves to participation of young people in all decision-making processes. b) That the City Council should create a youth issues budget with powers to delegate decisions to young people. c) That the City Council should, with young people develop structures, which will allow young people to have some ownership and create opportunities for young people to participate in decision making. d) That the City Council and other Partner organisations should sign up to a Youth Participation Charter of Commitment. e) That the City Council and young people develop a CORPORATE YOUTH STRATEGY, containing short, medium and long term goals. f) That the City Council commits itself to setting up and maintaining a partnership with the statutory and voluntary sectors (SALFORD YOUTH PARTNERSHIP) g) That the City council commits itself to providing clear information for young people, which is young person friendly. h) That participation opportunities, are diverse and include the use of culture and arts in developing participation opportunities. i) That participation opportunities should be created at an early age using play choices and drama. j) That the City Council should build on existing good practice and schemes. k) That different methods should be explored in order to involve young people who are social excluded or at a disadvantage or with a disability. l) That training should be provided for people to work together in developing a corporate Youth Strategy. (This should include opportunities for all stakeholders to be trained together) m) That additional sources of funding be identified to resource sustainable projects both new and existing. n) That some ‘risk taking’ in funding projects should be supported. o) That GAPS should be identified in areas of poor service provision. p) Attention must given to ensuring any new strategies and initiatives are colated, for example Connexions, to ensure joined up thinking. q) All services and Directorates should be committed to ensure that relevant personnel are recruited and given appropriate training, knowledge, skills and values to enable them in delivering a Corporate Youth Strategy SALFORD YOUTH STRATEGY The strategic aims of the CORPORATE YOUTH STRATEGY should fall under the following headings, which have already been determined in consultation with young people. Citizenship Improving Quality of Life Promoting Equality Education, Training and Employment Housing Community Safety Combating Social Exclusion Access to Services Health and Well-being Salford Youth Partnership This partnership will be facilitated and lead by the City Council and should include membership involving City Council Directorates, Health, Police, Police Authority, Fire Service and Voluntary sector providers of services to young people. It is recommended that senior managers should represent the partner organizations It is also recommended that an open door policy exists within the partnership to allow for other organizations to contribute. Developing a way forward through the Community Strategy 1. All organizations should be aware of any implications for children and young people in the delivery of their services, particularly in relation to Connexions and the delivery of their services. 2. All services should review their current arrangements for participation and citizenship with children and young people and make arrangements for best practice and best value. 3. All services working with children and young people establish their own charter of commitment and performance indicators in partnership with children and young people, monitoring levels of participation and making adjustments where necessary. 4. In line with the Community Strategy all services and schools establish a variety of mechanisms that ensures all children and young people are involved in planning, decision-making and citizenship. 5. A Community Strategy Link Officer be identified in each Directorate to work across services to act as a focus for participation and citizenship. 6. In wishing to use existing structures, every bi-monthly meeting of the Community Strategy Officers Group would co-ordinate and plan activities, reduce duplication, maintain central database, identify and share joint resources, highlight areas for development, share information on best practice and new ideas, develop multi agency training programmes, produce bi-monthly newsletter on local and city wide participation activities and outcomes. Reports to be presented to the lead member for Youth issues and the Youth Consultative Group. 7. All Community Committees should regularly receive the views of children and young people to ensure social inclusion and equal opportunities locally and respond appropriately 8. All Community Committee Action Plans should contain cross cutting themes of citizenship and participation in design, delivery and monitoring of all services. 9. All Community Committees should consider a proportion of their devolved budget to be spent by young people on behalf of young people. 10. Regular promotion and update of youth issues and participation activities including citizenship issues should be publicised through media identified by children and young people, which could include, Salford People, community newsletter and the Council website. 11. Where possible, all regeneration and other funding bids should contain proposals for participation by children and young people who where possible should be consulted at the bidding stage and further involved at the implementation stage of any successful bid. All bidding partners and the Salford Youth Partnership should monitor this process of involvement.