“You said – we did” Minister to YP, 2022
| How can young people get their priority issues onto the government policy agenda in ways that inform and influence policy decision-making? How can they be empowered to do so, and get credit for their contribution? One way is to join the new ‘Youth Policy Development Group’ – recruiting 16-25 yr-olds. (deadline of 8th Nov 21 has now passed but subscribe to YVH for updates and new opps).
The government have recently renewed their commitment to listen to young people’s views in shaping government policy. They are not just consulting on their policy agenda, but will also be listening to young people on the issues they care about. Shout Out UK are the organisation that have been awarded the latest round of the governments Youth Engagement Grant which aims to “support young people across England to participate in the development of policy affecting them, enabling more young people to have their voices heard and participate in decision making on a national policy level”.
RECRUITMENT of 16-25 year-olds in England to join the ‘Youth Policy Development Group’ team of 30 took place in November 2021, as part of a new partnership initiative with DCMS. Over four months (until March 2022) Shout Out UK will be offering regular training sessions and one-to-one support “to devise policy briefs in specific topic areas and present these direct to government [roundtables]. Shout Out UK’s background is in developing and delivering political literacy programmes and are able to offer young policy influencers sessions that will “develop your understanding of both the theoretical and practical elements of policy making, providing you with the necessary skills to debate, create and present policy” The group will also be using an E-portal with access to digital resources, polls and surveys of their peers, as well as a platform to discuss topic areas with other YPDG members online.
I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing the representations of these young people, the feedback they receive, and the difference they make – especially if the new Minister is subsequently able to feedback to group in 2022 “You Said – We did.”
Recruitment to the YPDG was open until 8th November/ Click here
The new version of the group being set up by Shout Out UK will build on previous work (under the DCMS Youth Engagement grant) by the British Youth Council who had managed a portfolio of youth engagements projects since 2019, and who continue to work in partnership with the DCMS and others to deliver the work of UK Youth Parliament. Both funding streams are due to end in March 22, but it is hoped that following the spending review and appointment of the new Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, which includes the ‘Youth policy brief’, Nigel Huddleston MP, will we will soon hear more about the governments plans to meaningfully engage young people with government going forward beyond 2022.
Over the decades youth representation to government has taken many forms, both through individual campaigns, such as climate change activism, and structured dialogue and representation, for example the youth parliaments and local councils. Young people will continue to speak out on issues they feel passionately about, some motivated by personal experience, and many others will continue to represent their peers on a range of issues as community leaders and aspiring politicians.
Many politicians and their officials will continue to want to consult those who are affected by their policies. As the profile of #youthvoice in public life and media grows, we are all become increasingly aware of the influence that young people can have, ie the #powerofyouth, but also the added value that they can bring to the decision-making table. I hope that this youth engagement initiative will develop in depth and quality to better broker the dialogue and enable even more young people to participate in decision-making. Let’s make it the norm not the novelty.
The Government, through several departments over the years, have supported various #youthvoice initiatives noticeably the DCMS’s (and Parliaments) ongoing support for the UK Youth Parliament and the Youth Select Committee model, as well as its activities under this Youth Engagement Grant. The government confirmed their support for continued youth engagement in the press release about the new partnership with Shout Out UK, Nigel Huddleston saying “We’re looking forward to working with Shout Out UK to deliver the Youth Engagement Grant, enabling more young people to be involved in the programme and have their voices heard. This grant continues to represent a key mechanism for supporting meaningful engagement between young people and decision makers at all levels and we remain committed to funding this activity”.
Shout Out UK are one of a number of organisations founded by young leaders, that is adding value and momentum to the youthvoice movement, in this case as a ‘creative social enterprise that aims to enable young people to engage in politics and have their voices heard’.
James Cathcart, Director, Young Voices Heard.