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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] : 21st January 2013

 

Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

Proposals for Development of a Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor Position for the Vale of Glamorgan

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To feedback on the views and opinions of young people gathered during Local Democracy Week on the development of a Youth Cabinet and the election of a Youth Mayor position for the Vale of Glamorgan.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet be informed that the Committee support the establishment of a constituted Youth Cabinet and the development of an election process for a Youth Mayor position.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             The establishment of a Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor will provide a voice for young people in the Vale by which their views and ideas can be considered in Council decision-making.

Background

2.             Young people informed elected members during the Youth Service Scrutiny review that they felt under represented and wanted a mechanism in place which would give them the opportunity to challenge and communicate with the Council and Cabinet on decisions that affect them.  This proposal sets out to address several recommendations of the Scrutiny Review of the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service in relation to participation provision.  These actions have been highlighted in the Scrutiny report through recommendations 5, 6, 16 and partly 15. The Youth Service Provision Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) recommended in April 2012 that mechanisms for the involvement of young people in the decision-making process about services that affect their lives are established at Local Authority and locality level and that a report on options for such involvement is to be presented to the Scrutiny Committee.  It was further recommended that the Vale’s Youth Champion was to be a representative from the young people from the Vale of Glamorgan as opposed to a Councillor appointment.

3.             Local Democracy Week [LDW] has been running in the Vale since 2006.  Its aim is to make councils more relevant to young people, increasingly user friendly and to encourage conversations between councillors, local officials and young people.  The 2012 LDW events have focussed on the proposal to develop a Youth Cabinet and a Youth Mayor position by consulting with young people.  The consultation focussed on four key areas: the role of the Youth Mayor, the duties of Vale Youth Forum members, election processes and communication methods.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The proposed model (see appendix 1) is to base the development of the Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor around the existing Vale Youth Forum.  The Vale Youth Forum (VYF) is made up of young representatives aged 11-25 from across the Vale of Glamorgan and is a registered charity which works with young people who either live, work or attend an educational establishment in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The VYF works in partnership with the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services, who employ the coordinator and the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service who accommodate the coordinator.

5.             The consultation results from Local Democracy Week (see appendix 2) determined that members of youth clubs, school council members, members of other youth groups and young people who do not belong to a youth organisation should be able to be elected onto the Vale Youth Forum and the Youth Cabinet.  However 51% of the young people felt that there should be a limit on the number of young people who are not elected by their school or youth group on the Vale Youth Forum.  Members of the VYF will be nominated and elected to sit on the Youth Cabinet. They will then be responsible for representing the interests of young people in the Vale to decision makers.  It is proposed that the Vale Youth Cabinet will meet regularly with council officers, councillors and cabinet members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council to put forward young people’s issues.

6.             It is proposed that the Youth Mayor position is nominated from the Vale Youth Forum, however 50% of those consulted felt that all young people aged 11-25 from the Vale of Glamorgan should be able to vote for their favourite candidate.  The consultation results have also highlighted suggestions for the duties of the Youth Mayor and have determined that the Youth Mayor should initially serve for one year and to have a deputy Youth Mayor in place for the same term of office.

7.             Young people have also suggested that the main communication method should be Facebook.  This method is for young people to get in touch with VYF and the Youth Mayor, to be informed about the work of VYF and the Youth Mayor, and to enable the VYF and the Youth Mayor to gather the views of the young people across the Vale.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.             The current Vale Youth Forum Coordinator role is funded by the Vale Voluntary Action Scheme until March 2014.  Although the VYF, a registered charity, has the ability to apply to external funders for project and additional work it is understood from the VYF trustees that external funders will consider the coordinators post as a statutory duty in the future.  This jeopardises future external funding for the core work of the Vale Youth Forum.

9.             As a result we are seeking to employ a young apprentice to work alongside the VYF Coordinator to develop and run the Youth Cabinet, support the Youth Mayor position and support the VYF post 2014. The Vale Youth Forum is being encouraged to apply for external funding. However if funding searches are unsuccessful then the Council may need to take on the support and management of the role which may create cost pressures.  The estimated cost of the post is £22,000. The young apprentice will have access to free training provided by the Vale Youth Service and will have the opportunity to work towards an accredited youth work qualification and develop key transferable skills for future employment.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        On 1st May 2012 the Children & Young Persons (Wales) Measure came into effect in Wales. 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. Between May 2012 and April 2014 this duty will apply when they are making decisions about new policy or changing existing policies. From the beginning of May 2014 it will apply when they are exercising any of their functions. The Measure places a duty on Welsh Ministers to take appropriate steps to promote knowledge and understanding of the Convention amongst the public, including children. 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. Welsh Ministers will have to produce a Children’s scheme setting out arrangements they have made or will be making in order to carry out the duty of having regard to the Convention. The Children’s Scheme will have to include a statement about the Minister’s proposals to consult on this and Ministers will have to publish a report about their conclusions. They will then be in a position to make orders enabling the provisions in the Measure to be applied to young people. Before making such orders Welsh Ministers would have to publish and consult on a draft order.

12.        On 1st May 2012 the Children and Young Persons Rights Measure came into effect in Wales.  The Measure places a duty upon the Welsh Ministers to have due regard (balanced consideration of the UNCRC and other factors) to the substantive rights and obligations within the UNCRC.   In effect this makes the UNCRC part of the decision- making framework or process of Ministers.  The Measure aims to embed the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into law on behalf of Welsh children and young people.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        Participation is a fundamental right which is set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 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

15.        Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery guidance (June 2012) determines that the local engagement strategy identifies that the Welsh approach to public service reform is premised on citizen voice as a driver for service improvement. It states that a single integrated plan should set out how partners intend to engage with people and communities, with a very clear focus on how this will best support service improvement and improve the experience of people using the services. They also highlight that further work needs to be done to promote and facilitate the engagement and participation of children and young people and information on how this is to be achieved should be included in the engagement strategy.

16.        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”.

17.        This proposal is also in accordance with the Council's Vision for the Vale (as contained in the Corporate Plan 2010-2014):

  • "where there is a strong sense of community in which local groups and individuals have the capacity and incentive to make an effective contribution to the future sustainability of the area.”

18.        The Corporate Plan contains a specific Improvement Objective to provide leadership in representing and promoting the interests of the local community and engage effectively with citizens and stakeholders.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.        The Youth Service in Wales has a statutory basis which is established within the Learning and Skills Act 2000, section 123 which gives strategic direction to Youth Support Services. The Welsh National Youth Service Strategy 2007 indicates the priorities set by the Welsh Government and its priority to ensure the voices of young people are heard and supports Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.        In total 198 young people took part in consultation workshops.  School councils from all mainstream secondary schools, all three special schools and the G2E project (Guidance to Engagement - alternative education programme within the Vale Youth Service) took part.  Additionally, the Vale Youth Forum organised an evening event for youth organisations and youth provisions (voluntary and statutory) from across the Vale and Vale People First also conducted a workshop with their Vale Speak Up group. There has also been an opportunity for young people to comment online via an internet based survey.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Children Act 2004 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/31/contents

 

Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/mwa/2011/4/contents

 

National Youth Service Strategy for Wales - http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/publications/guidance/national-youth-strategy-wales?lang=en

 

Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/mwa/2011/2/contents

 

Shared Planning for Better Outcomes - http://wales.gov.uk/topics/childrenyoungpeople/publications/sharedplanning/;jsessionid=AFDE1AFE17EEE17C0265E7909AD53C62?lang=en

 

Shared Purpose, Shared Delivery - http://wales.gov.uk/topics/improvingservices/publicationsevents/publications/sharedpurpdel/?lang=en

 

Contact Officer

Andy Borsden - Principal Youth Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Ve Van de Voorde - Youth Participation Officer

Mark Davies - Children & Young People's Partnership Manager

Rob Jones - Consultation Policy Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Chief Learning and Skills Officer