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Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 17th February 2014

 

Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

Progress Report on the Development of a Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor Position for the Vale of Glamorgan

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To report to Scrutiny the progress on the development of the Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor and the involvement of young people and Vale Youth Forum Members and Trustees in the process thus far.

Recommendation

1.         That Members note the progress to date in the establishment of a constituted Youth Cabinet and the development of an election process for a Youth Mayor position.

Reason for the Recommendation

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.         Since the last report in September 2013, the Vale of Glamorgan Council Youth Service have been working in tandem with the Vale Youth Forum (VYF) to recruit new members and inject new energy into the Vale Youth Forum.  Since September 2013, 55 new members have been recruited.  The young people come from all areas of the Vale, via schools' youth groups and also as self-referrals.  Recruitment was achieved by a sustained and intensive campaign during Local Democracy Week (LDW) (14th -20th October).  This period was identified as the optimum point for recruitment as the Youth Service had held several successful projects, campaigns and events in previous years.

3.         In September work began to create an election pack for distribution to as many youth provisions across the Vale as possible, including statutory and voluntary provisions.  A member of the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service or a colleague from a partner organisation went through the details of the pack and delivered a presentation to engage the young people and highlight the development of the Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor.  The pack contained an opening letter from Jane Hutt AM as Chair of the VYF and information about the VYF in the form of a leaflet created by existing Forum members.

4.         The VYF are working to an election deadline of the 24th March 2014.  In the run up to that date the VYF will receive 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.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         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.  These issues will be identified by the VYF, which will have information from parent organisations.  These issues will need to be prioritised and given due consideration before being presented to the Council.

6.         It is proposed that the Youth Mayor position is nominated from the VYF.  The Youth Mayor should initially serve for one year and have a Deputy Youth Mayor in place for the same term of office.  This initial process may need to be adapted in time to link with local government elections.

7.         Young people have proposed that the main communication method within the VYF should be via social media platforms.  The Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service has established a Facebook page, and the Swoosh website is accessible to young people for this purpose.  These platforms will allow young people to get in touch with VYF and the Youth Mayor to be informed about the work of VYF, and to enable the VYF and the Youth Mayor to gather the views of the young people across the Vale.  There will need to be careful moderation of the comments and issues on both platforms paying regard to issues relating to safeguarding.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.         The current Vale Youth Forum Co-ordinator role is funded by the Vale Voluntary Action Scheme until March 2014.  Currently no external grant funding has been secured by the VYF to continue provision at the post.

9.         To negate this issue the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service Participation Trainee who has some experience in participation will work alongside the voluntary VYF Co-ordinator to develop and run the Youth Cabinet, support the Youth Mayor position and support the VYF post March 2014.  The VYF has applied for external funding and is hopeful of success.  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.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      Increasing the level of youth participation in decision making is intended to support sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      Children & 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.  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.

12.      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

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.      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".

16.      "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

17.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      356 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 VYF organised any 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

19.      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://www.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

Andrew Borsden - lead Officer Youth and Community Learning

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Ve Van de Voorde, Youth Participation Officer

Mark Davies, Children and Young People's Partnership Manager

Rob Jones, Consultation Policy Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

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