Start up/Growth: support service

 “..mobilising your youth voice to better achieve your mission”

First Steps 1/ Initial audit using our youth-led quality assurance tool and minimum standards. Using a self assessment tool, interviews, consultation and desk research of your organisations potential (or current level) of youth participation) we will produce a report identifying good practice and potential with recommendations on next steps.  Your practice will be benchmarked against our framework youth-led minimum standards, with recommendations of how to achieve or improve on them.

First Steps 2/ Strategy development and planning: We can then help write or review your strategy and plan, support you to identify resources and fundraise to make it a reality. We will guide you to decide the degree  ‘consultation’ , ‘participation’ ‘partnership’ ‘leadership’ or ‘governance’  and method: ‘research’, ‘advisory panel’, ‘creative hackathon’, ‘design hub’, ‘consultation event’, ‘themed forum’, ‘young recruiters’, ‘peer mentors’, ‘grant givers/assessors’, ‘board trustees’,  of youth engagement that best meets your needs, and adds value to your vision, mission and purpose.

Next Step 3/  Start Up: Recruitment, induction and support to implement and deliver your plan from first steps 1/ and 2/  This would be part of our interim management service – whose aim is to work with you to embed your programme sustainably and handover to your team. An ongoing mentoring support service to staff or young leaders is an option.

Young people’s input is essential to this process, and we would want to listen to and act on their input. These would either be young people recruited from your networks our from experienced youth voice champions working as young associates to help you develop and plan your strategy.

Organisations already working with young peoples participation …   We will focus on reviewing and auditing existing practice to support you to move to the next level, with training, mentoring and new project management. Each audit is customised to meet your needs proportionate to your journey towards meaningful youth participation as an organisation.

Roles There many ways in which an organisation can engage and empower young people in mutually beneficial roles within an organisation – from ambassadors to trustees, with associated degrees of power and influence. For example: young people can be consulted as beneficiaries and their views will be influential on service development. Others can share or are delegated decision-making, design, and scrutiny roles.  In some cases, their age is irrelevant, if they add value to the process because of their skills and unique networks.

Recruitment There are many ways in which they, and those they work with, are recruited, trained and supported. In some case young people are recruited to meet a quota, but in others it is because the role description is regardless not only of gender, faith, minority, but also of age, when the goal is to recruit to a reflect the profile of society, or a community, that includes young people. Increasingly we are seeing recruitment for those with user-experience, or to future-proof an organisation as part of a long-term sustainment strategy, or where the aim is to nurture young leaders into management roles.

The National Youth Agency’s ‘Hear By Right’ standards are one of those we benchmark against. (pic at Training Day)

Certification We can also offer to certify your level of youth participation with a Young Voices Heard Hear Quality Mark. The first level records what exists, the second is an assessment against minimum national and the third is a commendation highlighting good or exceptional practice. These come with a written report and quality mark logo. The standards are unique to Young Voices Heard as they are approved by an independent youth panel, reviewed and updated annually, and benchmarked to include and exceed other national standards in the youth sector.

Education and Inspection Act 2006. Your practice can also be benchmarked to comply with the Education and Inspection Act 2006 guidance on youth participation on the development and delivery of youth services in local authorities. (including the new post-DCMS review guidance 2020). This might be something that youth councils can lead on, working in partnership with us to produce an independent review for their council, and add to our national resources.

Training and Ongoing support –The assessment and audit can explore what you want to achieve for youth participation, and follow up with training and ongoing support (e.g. mentoring) as well as a one year review against goals achieved. Other bespoke services include the drafting of policies and procedures ideally with input from local young people. Ongoing coaching or mentoring support to staff or young people, including one-to-one support for CEOs, Chairs and Trustees is also available as part of change management. This can includes for skills training to young people to make them more effective participants, e.g. preparing for meetings, inspecting services or media work.

Other services: Setting up a Youth Advisory Forum; Setting up decision-making structures/judges panels; Establishing a design and development group or hackathon; Recruiting and supporting Young Trustees recruitment and training, Training ‘Young Inspectors’.

Case Study: In 2019 ‘Young Voices Heard’ was commissioned to develop a youth voice and participation ‘strategy and framework’ for the Volunteer Police Cadets, the fasting growing uniform organisation in the UK. A youth-led advisory forum was established to shape the process, and the Cadet-Voice framework was benchmarked to independent national standards, Harts Ladder of Participation, and a literary review of relevant good practice.