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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 7 September, 2015

Report of the Leader

Youth Representation on Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

Purpose of the Report

1.    To seek Cabinet and Council approval for the appointment of youth representatives plus substitutes on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

Recommendations

1.    That approval be granted for the Vale Youth Forum to be invited to nominate two representatives plus substitutes to sit as non-voting observers on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

 

2.    That following approval of the above, Council be requested to agree to the appointment of two representatives to sit as non-voting observers on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) and the Council's Constitution be amended accordingly.

Reason for the Recommendations

(1&2)    To seek Cabinet and Council approval in order to allow for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 to provide information, suggestions or comments for consideration by the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

Background

2.    Following the Scrutiny Committee's review on the Youth Service provision in 2012 Cabinet was requested to develop options for the involvement of young people in the Council's decision-making process.  At its meeting on 17th February, 2014 the Committee received an update report on the progress on the development of a Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor position for the Vale of Glamorgan.  The report advised that the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Youth Service had been working in tandem with the Vale Youth Forum (VYF) to recruit new members and inject new energy into the VYF.  

 

3.    Since September 2013, 55 new members to the VYF had been recruited from all areas of the Vale via schools, youth groups and also self-referrals.  In September 2013 work began to create an election pack for distribution to as many youth provisions across the Vale as possible, including statutory and voluntary provision.  An election date was set for 24th March, 2014 and in the run up to that date the VYF received training on

  • raising awareness of learning difficulties / autism
  • Code of Conduct / map of the Vale / pros and cons
  • what it means to be a representative
  • session on Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor
  • everyone's future intergenerational work.

4.    On 24th March, 2014, 17 young people stood for the election and 23 attended in total.  The inauguration of the Youth Cabinet took place on 31st March, 2014 and an announcement made via the press of their appointment.  

Relevant Issues and Options

5.    On 18th May, 2015, the Scrutiny Committee received a report of progress to date (March 2015) from the Youth Cabinet itself and a way forward in respect of the  appointment of youth representatives to sit on the Scrutiny Committee and the process to be adopted.  The Committee considered at that time, that representation by young people on the Committee would enable young people to provide information, suggestions or comments and that such a position would provide a voice for young people where their views and ideas would be considered as part of the Council decision-making process.

 

6.    The recommendation was referred to Cabinet who on 29th June, 2015 resolved :   

"(1)   T H A T the principle of the Vale Youth Forum being invited to nominate two representatives, plus substitutes, as non-voting observers to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) be agreed.

(2)   T H A T a more detailed report be brought to Cabinet with a view to making a recommendation to Council in September and incorporating those recommendations into the report on the Council Constitution which would also be considered at that Council meeting."

 

7.    Following approval of the above it is the intention that an information pack be provided to the Vale Youth Forum in order that representatives can be appropriately briefed on the role in order that expressions of interest can then be put forward.  To assist the nomination process, officers from within the Democratic Services Section will arrange briefing sessions with the Vale Youth Forum Members in respect of the proposed roles.  

 

8.    It has not been considered necessary for the process that was used for the election of a Youth Cabinet to be replicated for the appointment of representatives on the Scrutiny Committee, as that process had involved the Council supporting an election process for Cabinet representatives whereas for current co-opted observer appointments on Scrutiny Committees, nominations are sought from the relevant organisations.  

 

9.    It is therefore proposed that an invitation is extended to the Vale Youth Forum to nominate two representatives, plus substitutes, from the Forum to sit on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to represent young people of the Vale.  The nominated representatives would be afforded the opportunity to attend Scrutiny Committee meetings, receive agendas and reports for the meeting (subject to Access to Information requirements), with the opportunity to speak on agenda items and provide views/comments on behalf of young people within the Vale.

 

10.    The appointment(s), whilst in a non-voting capacity, would provide a further opportunity for the Council to further formally engage with young people.  The appointment(s) is to be agreed on the basis that the representatives are Vale Youth Forum Members and subject to change by the Vale Youth Forum itself.

 

11.    It being accepted that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) meets on a monthly basis, every four weeks, it will be left to the representatives of the Youth Forum for the nominations to decide whether they attend every meeting or meetings where they have a particular interest.  The Scrutiny Committee may also call upon the nominated representatives to attend if they feet the views of the young people would be required on particular areas of service.

 

12.    In relation to attendance, there would also be the opportunity for representatives to claim mileage or transport costs to attend the Scrutiny Committee meetings and all relevant information for their attendance would be forwarded via the Democratic Services Section.  

 

13.    The current membership of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) is as follows:

  • 10 Elected Members of the Vale Council
  • also invited to attended as co-opted members ( under the Education Act 1996)
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Church in Wales
  • Parent Governor (Secondary Sector),
  • Parent Governor (Primary Sector) (as outlined under the Education Act 1996)
  • also invited to attend as non - voting observers a representative of the: Primary Sector, Secondary Sector, Welsh Medium Education, Special Schools, Headteachers and Free Churches.

14.    If approved, the appointment of Youth Service representatives to the Scrutiny Committee will enhance the membership of the Committee and allow for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 to provide information, suggestions or comments for consideration by the Committee.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15.    Preparation of supporting documentation for the role to be resourced from existing resources.

 

16.    Opportunity for representatives to claim mileage or transport costs to attend the Scrutiny Committee meetings, which usually meet once a month and, on occasions, may call extraordinary meetings.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.    Increasing the level of youth participation in the decision-making processes intending to support sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.    The Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure (The Measure) places a duty on Welsh Ministers to have due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (The Convention), and makes a number of other provisions relating to children's rights in Wales.  

 

19.    The Convention applies to children under 18.  However, the Measure requires Welsh Ministers to consider whether any of its provisions should be applied to young people in the 18 to 24 age range.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.    There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.    Participation is a fundamental right which is set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and was adopted by the UK government in 1991.  The principle of participation as contained in Article 12 is closely linked to freedom of expression and the right to information.  The Welsh Government is committed to driving forward the principles of Article 12 across Wales, thus ensuring young people aged 0-25 have opportunities to contribute to and have their voices heard in decision-making issues which impact on their lives.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.    The Core Aim 5 agenda of the Council's Community Strategy states that "All children and young people are listened to, treated with respect and have their race and cultural identity recognised".

 

23.    "Develop the skills of young people to work with schools and youth support services to achieve the Welsh Government's National Standards for Children Young People's Participation, increasing opportunities for their involvement in decisions that affect them and giving them a voice. (2014/15)".

Policy Framework and Budget

24.    This is a matter for decision by Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

25.    No Ward Member consultation required as this is a county-wide initiative.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.    Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Reports to Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee  

Youth Provision Service Task and Finish Group Review April 2012

Contact Officer

Karen Bowen, Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer, Tel: (01446) 709856

Officers Consulted

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Andrew Borsden, Lead Officer Youth and Community Learning

Operational Manager Accountancy

Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director