Over 80 Council Leaders and Officers responsible for Children’s and Youth Services gathered at the LGA central office on 20 March 2024, to celebrate the launch of two new Peer Networks, for Lead Officers and Members, and to learn about the NYA’s Peer Review programme. 

The NYA has been commissioned to deliver the Peer Review programme on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in order to support Councils to confidently assess the needs of young people in their area and fulfil their Statutory Duty for youth work. 

Cllr Jon Hubbard, Deputy Chair of the Children and Young People, Local Government Association, opened the event and set the context for the day: “One of the things we’ve got to learn to do is for partnerships to understand how councils work better, and for councils to understand how partnerships work better. We’ve got to move away from trying to do to, and instead to work with the voluntary sector. ”  

NYA Chief Executive, Leigh Middleton acknowledged the challenges facing the sector and work of the NYA to influence a greater recognition of the value and impact of youth work: 

The average length of funding in the youth sector is nine months long. That length of funding has proven to be incredibly corrosive to building strong and safe and stable youth services. Youth work is about relationships, it’s about supporting young people in their communities. If youth workers are constantly changing roles and having to move due to funding, it undermines what youth work is trying to achieve.” 

Léna Hartmann, Youth Strategy Team, Department of Culture Media and Sport spoke about the challenges and priorities facing government:

Representatives from the South Gloucestershire Council and Milton Keynes Council shared their recent experience of the process and next steps for developing their youth offer. 

Richard Lee, Participation and Engagement Manager, Milton Keynes City Council said:

Working together is essential, whether it’s in your local authority area or working with partners across the country, it’s really important to learn together, to develop together and to hold each other accountable” 

Insights were also provided by young reviewers Ivan and Charlie.

Presentations were also given by representatives of Rochdale Council and West Northamptonshire Council to share how they have improved their youth services in line with the recommendations of their review in 2023.  

The event also provided an opportunity for delegates to hear about the work of the Young People’s Foundation Trust (YPFT) in supporting the creation of Local Youth Partnerships to build collaboration between those working in the youth sector.  

Imogen from Young People’s Foundation Trust said: “Today was so uplifting, it was a privilege to attend and hear from local authorities who are leading the way in supporting youth work. They are really interrogating their practice and looking for solutions.” 

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