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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 18th May 2015

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Vale Youth Cabinet: January - March 2015 Progress Report and Youth Representatives on Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To receive the Vale Youth Cabinet January - March 2015 progress report.

2.         To consider the appointment of Youth Representatives on the Scrutiny Committee and the process to be adopted.

Recommendations

1.         That the Vale Youth Cabinet progress report be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

2.         That the Scrutiny Committee recommend to Cabinet and Full Council that the Vale Youth Forum be invited to nominate two representatives to sit, as non-voting observers, on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         Having considered the contents contained therein and to advise Cabinet.

2.         To seek Cabinet and Full 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 Committee. 

Background

3.         Following the Committee's scrutiny review on 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 the Scrutiny Committee 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 (Min. No. 852).

4.         The Vale of Glamorgan Council Youth Service had been working in tandem with the Vale Youth Forum (VYF) to recruit new members and inject new energy into the VYF.  Since September 2013, 55 new members 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 inter-generational workforce.

5.         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

6.         Attached at Appendix 1 is the January - March 2015 progress report of the Vale Youth Cabinet which provides a brief outline of what has happened during the period and advises of how many young people have been contacted to date.  The report also refers to the number of meetings of the Youth Cabinet that have taken place, the meetings of the VYF and the consultation undertaken with the Youth Cabinet regarding the Vale Council's Destination Action Plan.  The report further outlines the work being undertaken by the Point Team to encourage new membership for the VYF. 

7.         The work of the Youth Cabinet has also been well documented on social media and in the press, with several articles having been published in the Barry and District and the Gem.  The report details that throughout the period young people have gained a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, its Cabinet Members and the processes of democracy.

8.         At the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 17th February 2014, it was recommended that a further report be presented on the way forward for a member(s) of the VYF to be represented on the Scrutiny Committee.

The Committee considered that such representation would enable the young people of the Vale to provide information, suggestions or comments for consideration by the Committee. Such a position will provide a voice for young people where their views and ideas can be considered via the Council decision-making process.

 

9.         Should the recommendation of the appointment of youth representatives be agreed, it is intended that an information pack be provided to the VYF in order that representatives can be appropriately briefed on the role in order that expressions of interest can then be put forward.  To assist in the nomination process officers from within the Democratic Services section will arrange a briefing session with VYF members in respect of the role.  

10.      The actual process for election of the Youth Cabinet has not been considered necessary for the appointment of a representative on the Scrutiny Committee. That process has involved the Council supporting an election process for Cabinet representatives whereas for current co-opted observer appointments on Scrutiny Committees nominations are sought, in the main, from the organisations themselves.

11.      It is therefore proposed that invitations are extended to the VYF to nominate two representatives from the Forum to sit on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to represent young people of the Vale. 

12.      The nominated representatives will 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 from the Vale.  The appointment(s), whilst in a non-voting capacity, will 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 VYF members and subject to change by the VYF itself.  

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

14.      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

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      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.  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.

17.      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

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.      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

20.      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".

21.      "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

22.      This is a matter for decision by Full Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Reports to Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee 2013/14

Youth Provision Service Task and Finish Group Review April 2012

 

Contact Officer

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

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Jeff Wyatt, Head of Democratic Services

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

Ve van de Voorde, Youth Participation Officer

Andrew Borsden, Lead Officer Youth and Community Learning

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director