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Youth Matters Analysis of Responses to the Consultation Document Introduction This report has been based on 1045 responses to the consultation document. As some respondents may have offered a number of options for questions, total percentages listed under any one question may exceed 100%. Throughout the report, percentages are expressed as a measure of those answering each question, not as a measure of all respondents. The organisational breakdown of respondents was as follows: Youth Service/Council 222 Local Authority 197 Charities/Voluntary 112 Other 97* Educational Establishments 77 Connexions 76 Professional working with Young People 73 Volunteer working with Young People 51 Private Companies/Employers 26 Health 23 Parent/Carer 21 Careers/Skills 20 Young Person Under 16 20 Children and YP Strategic Partnership 11 Unions 11 Young Person Over 16 8 *Those which fell into the ‘other’ category included anonymous, individual and group responses, museums-arts-libraries, MPs, national institutions and other associations. The report starts with an overview, followed by a summary analysis of each question within the consultation. Overview Respondents generally welcomed the Youth Matters green paper and said it was a long awaited development on youth policy. The majority supported the focus on greater integration of services and the development of youth support teams, as well as co-located services offering a range of services to young people. Many respondents said the £40 million capital fund to develop new approaches to strategic investment in youth facilities was insufficient. They suggested there was very little money available for youth services at present, and were concerned that the government expected expansion of services without providing the necessary funding. Some respondents said there was little emphasis on health in the document, particularly the expectations of primary care trusts (PCT). They thought Youth Matters ignored the health service and did not state if the ‘merged funding’ streams included that going to the health service via PCTs. Many felt the Green Paper appeared to see young people as a homogenous group, and did not reflect the barriers young people faced through such things as sexuality, ethnicity, religion, learning difficulties and disabilities, living in rural or urban communities, those not in education or employment/training runaways, and homeless young people. Most respondents did not support the ‘carrot and stick’ approach that was proposed in the paper, and said it would have no effect on young people who already had a record of engaging in anti-social behaviour and crime. They felt sanctions were unworkable, and said the emphasis should be upon positive reinforcement rather than focusing on the negative. Many felt the green paper adopted a ‘consumerist’ approach that failed to acknowledge the fundamental value in young people just gaining life skills and development from being involved in productive processes. Some respondents suggested that placing a value on everything, including volunteering would devalue the development tasks and satisfaction resulting from achieving intrinsic goals. The vast majority strongly supported the emphasis on the involvement and engagement of young people in shaping local services. However, many respondents said there was not enough emphasis in the green paper on those young people who were most disadvantaged, e.g. disabled young people, in order for them to participate in shaping local services. Most respondents, who replied to question 10a, had reservations about the proposal of an opportunity card. Some noted that the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) had already called for expressions of interest from local authorities to pilot the cards, and wondered why they were being asked to consult on it when clearly decisions had been taken prior to the end of the consultation period. Many expressed concerns at the cost of implementing the card nationally. Some had reservations that the opportunity card was a ‘back door’ introduction to identity cards. Most respondents said the withdrawal of the opportunity card would be counter productive as a sanction. The majority of respondents had serious doubts about schools and colleges being given responsibility for information advice and guidance (IAG) and felt it would be difficult to maintain independence and impartiality which was essential. Respondents were concerned that the proposals would split the IAG service between separately commissioned ‘universal’ and ‘targeted’ services, and said there should be one commission through an integrated IAG service specification, not two commissions. Many respondents said the Children’s Trust was the correct place for this responsibility. Some respondents suggested that Children’s Trusts should be called ‘Children and Young People’s Trusts’. Most respondents said it was crucial to set minimum standards, and to discover ways to demonstrate how meeting these standards would help schools and colleges to meet key performance indicators. Some thought the proposed expectations did not cover faith or spiritual values in young people’s lives. A substantial number of respondents strongly agreed that there should be quality standards for IAG, and these standards must be impartial, challenge stereotypes, and measure the quality of intervention and the outcomes for young people in all areas of their lives. Many felt that existing standards for careers education and guidance should be built on. Some respondents said implementing these proposals would end the aspiration of many people that England would move towards an all age guidance service, as was the case for Scotland and Wales. Most respondents welcomed the recognition that parents had a significant influence in young people’s lives, and said that the support services needed to engage more with parents. However, some were concerned about confidentiality, and said that some young people may not wish their parents to be involved or told information about them. Summary Q1 a) What do you think are the most important issues facing young people now? There were 787 responses to this question. Because of the differences in society and in young people, a wide range of issues were raised by respondents. 342 (43%) respondents said a major issue was young people being pressured into getting involved in activities and behaviour they knew was wrong, but felt they had to conform to so they could be accepted as part of a group. They suggested that peer acceptance, e.g. possessing the ‘right’ things and wearing the ‘right’ clothes was also a key issue. This was promoted by marketing the image of young people as consumers. Bullying was also a major concern with this group. 337 (43%) said that the most important issue for young people was about education, and respondents raised the following concerns as examples of this: High expectation to achieve academically Young people had no involvement in the curriculum currently taught in schools Imposed control in schools i.e. pupil-teacher relationships, different learning styles required for individual young people, exclusions Access to further - higher education, and the debt this could create The transitional stages in education caused great pressure for young people The current drive to keep young people in school longer resulted in financial dependency on others, and was a problem for low income families. 317 (40%) thought access to employment, the lack of suitable jobs, poor quality training, and a lack of good careers advice were important issues for young people. 303 (39%) respondents felt that today’s culture was to stay in and watch TV, or play computer games and therefore many young people suffered from a lack of physical exercise. They said obesity was now more common, and young people needed access to advice and guidance on issues such as healthy eating and keeping the body fit and healthy. Sexual health, such as practising safe sex and teenage pregnancy were also raised as an issue for young people. 290 (37%) respondents said there was a lack of activities outside of school, and young people needed access to opportunities to socialise with others, without the pressures of learning and education. Young people themselves suggested they needed safe places to go that were inexpensive, and where they could just ‘chill out’ with friends, or be involved in the activities that they had decided upon. 280 (36%) suggested the availability and misuse of drugs was a vital issue for young people, also the fear of ‘drug pushers’ around schools and on the streets was a concern. 248 (32%) felt that financial considerations were very important to young people. The issues put forward surrounding this subject were: Training allowance was not sufficient to meet needs Student debts, university fees, inequality of Education Maintenance Allowance Cost of living – i.e. housing, paying bills Access to benefits – and would volunteering impact on young people’s benefit entitlement? No money to pay for activities. 245 (31%) thought that one of the most important issues for young people was family-life relationships. The following were offered as examples: Family breakdown – divorce Poor parenting which led to poorly developed life skills Personal relationships Family rejection Domestic violence. 234 (30%) felt alcohol abuse, and young people being able to buy alcohol from shops without identification was a concern. 200 (25%) said young people had to develop self esteem, confidence and identity so they could fit into a place in society, and have a voice in their community. It was felt that they needed to have the opportunities to develop their own powers of independent critical thinking. 178 (23%) said that the negative portrayal of young people as being anti-social in the media was a problem because they were frequently and unfairly misrepresented. 151 (19%) said there was a lack of access to guidance, advice and support, and many young people were unaware of how to access the information that was available to them. 147 (19%) felt an issue was the lack of understanding from adults, the need to be listened to, and have their views taken as seriously as every other member of the community. 101 (13%) suggested that cultural awareness and citizenship were issues important to young people. Q1 b) How are these issues different for younger (13-16) compared to older (17-19) teenagers? There were 613 responses to this question. 317 (52%) respondents said that the 17 to 19 age group were affected by life problems. This group were coming to terms with independent living, and financially preparing to look after themselves. They were ready to explore adult issues, and were looking to make the transition into adulthood. 268 (44%) thought the 17 to19 category required the necessary skills and aptitude for work, and needed extensive support to achieve this. Respondents stated that this group were more concerned with finding employment, and accessing opportunities for the training relating to future employment than the younger group. 231 (38%) said there was little difference in the issues which affected young people, and that these issues crossed age ranges. They believed that young people matured at different stages therefore age ranges were arbitrary. They also mentioned it was more important to look at the individual young person and the specific issues they faced at any given time and tailor the delivery to the different ages. 158 (26%) thought that the 13 to 16 year old age range would still be attending school, and living at home so they were more likely to be influenced and to receive support from teachers and parents. The 17 to 19 year olds however, were more alone and isolated, and received less support from adults. 132 (22%) believed that the 13 to16 age group were more affected by peer pressure, especially in relation to smoking, drinking and under age sex. It was suggested this age group wanted to attain more of a sense of belonging. 130 (21%) suggested the 13 to 16 group of young people were making choices about their examinations, and felt under pressure to achieve GCSEs, especially 5 A-C grades. 88 (14%) thought the 13 to 16 category needed good quality work placements which related to good job opportunities. 81 (13%) said that the older group could realise that the choices they had made earlier in their education would not gain them the employment or the career of their choice. This would then put them under pressure because of the lack of time they had to rectify this. 78 (13%) said that 13 to 16 year olds had to deal with parental and family pressure, especially when there was a family breakdown such as a divorce or a new step parent. They felt this group were living at home in a dependency culture, relying on parents for money and transport. This in turn could result in pressure because their parents could not afford to pay for them to take part in activities. 49 (8%) felt that disaffection started in the 13 to16 category because of the emotional and physical changes these young people went through at this age. They could be distracted from learning and education by seeing older young people being involved in experimental behaviour. 42 (7%) said that 13 to16 year olds had more time to sort out their lives and to improve themselves, and that their choices appeared to be more flexible and liable to change. 34 (6%) thought the 13 to 16 younger age group were not mature enough to think about their futures, because they were still essentially children. 28 (5%) felt that the 13 to 16 group of young people were easier to change, and successful intervention at this age could help to avoid risk taking behaviour. Q2 Are there issues faced by particular groups of teenagers that are not addressed in this document? If so, what are they? There were 774 responses to this question. 645 (83%) said yes 45 (6%) said no 84 (11%) were not sure 261 (34%) said the issues young people with special educational needs (SEN) faced, and those with physical disabilities were not addressed in the document. Most of these respondents also said that mental health was a significant issue for today’s young people, and this had also been over looked in Youth Matters. 225 (29%) thought that the document had insufficient emphasis on homeless young people, and of the lack of affordable housing to enable them to make the transition from living with parents and carers to living independently. 203 (26%) felt there were specific concerns for those young people who lived in rural areas. It was felt that the green paper did not recognise the unique issues such as transport and the lack of facilities in rural areas. 193 (25%) said there were particular issues surrounding racial equality and black minority ethnic (BME) groups of young people, and how diverse communities could achieve integration and unity. Some respondents also suggested that asylum seekers were not addressed in the document. 119 (15%) suggested one of the most excluded and vulnerable groups of young people not addressed in the draft were lesbian, gay or bi-sexual (LGB) young people. These groups were seen to need specific support due to a homophobic and heterosexist society. 103 (13%) said young people who had caring responsibilities were totally omitted from the green paper. 101 (13%) thought the Youth Matters paper missed the opportunity to fully investigate the issues of young people who were in care or the aftermath of leaving care. 97 (13%) felt that the issue of skills and enterprise was weak in the green paper. Respondents believed that many young people were not being given sound advice in courses of study or occupations which were best suited to their abilities. It was also suggested that young unemployed people were unlikely to engage with their local authorities for IAG services. 79 (10%) suggested traveller communities were not adequately addressed given that they were high risk groups. 72 (9%) said that young people excluded from school were not addressed in the document. 45 (6%) felt the needs of young people who were being bullied and harassed should be recognised and dealt with. Q3 Do you know of any projects or initiatives which have been outstandingly successful in tackling the challenges covered in this document? If so, please give details. There were 644 responses to this question. 556 (86%) said yes 45 (7%) said no 43 (7%) were not sure Respondents submitted many different successes, and these have been listed at Annex E. The projects or initiatives that were most frequently raised were: 123 (19%) - Youth service /projects - respondents said the youth service successfully tackled these issues already, and a range of youth service projects were identified as being good practice. These differed from area to area and have been captured in Annex E 99 (15%) - Connexions - the success of Connexions partnerships was evidenced in the national customer satisfaction surveys carried out on behalf of DfES and in Ofsted inspection reports. Respondents felt that Connexions had significantly improved the range and quality of intensive support available to young people and had developed very effective methods of providing information, advice and guidance to all young people, whether in or out of school 58 (9%) - Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) - which provided high quality activities for young people at risk of offending or being involved in anti-social behaviour 26 (4%) - Millennium Volunteers - an accredited programme aimed at young people aged 16 to 24. It was an organisation which encouraged young people to take part in volunteer projects in their local areas 25 (4%) - Prince’s Trust - helped young people through training, skill building, business loans, grants, personal development and study support outside of school 25 (4%) - E2E - was a flexible work based programme which helped to improve skills and career options. This was seen as a major national initiative which had made strong contributions to the needs of teenagers 21 (3%) - Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme - a national award scheme with a four section programme with three levels, bronze, silver, and gold. Respondents said this award was committed to providing an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of personal development for young people 19 (3%) - Youth Offending Services -youth offending teams were already working with young people to prevent offending or re-offending and to develop a youth crime and anti-social behaviour strategy. Q4 a) How can we encourage young people to take their responsibilities seriously? There were 663 responses to this question. Many respondents said that the vast majority of young people already took their responsibilities very seriously, and noted that this question presumed they did not. 426 (64%) respondents said young people had to be involved, be given real choices, and ownership of those choices to empower them to make decisions. They felt that young people should not be stereotyped and their views should be listened to with less tokenism in the consultation process. 281(42%) thought it was important to treat young people seriously. It was considered that they should be given responsibility, and supported to understand the consequences of their actions and decisions. Respondents also thought young people should be encouraged to take an interest in the democratic system and society that they lived in, to enable them to take responsibility seriously. 271 (41%) said young people needed to understand what their responsibilities were before they could understand why they should take them seriously. Respondents thought young people should be consulted with, and clear parameters of behaviour and responsibilities should be set out and agreed between adults and young people. 233 (35%) suggested young people should be given the opportunity to be responsible. It was thought they should be empowered to develop and run projects, and given something they could be responsible for such as youth and sports clubs, and as decision makers as members of their local community. 177 (27%) said young people needed positive role models to give them support and guidance. Respondents were of the opinion that accepting responsibility should start early in the home, and young people should be encouraged by parents. It was also felt that mentors, for young people without parental support available to them, was a key way for life skills to be communicated. 64 (10%) thought that media coverage showed drinking, smoking and drugs as ‘normal’ life and it was important to control or stop this image. Q4 b) What should the incentives be for good behaviour? There were 550 responses to this question. 257 (47%) respondents felt a good incentive would be to praise and celebrate good examples of how young people had taken their responsibilities seriously. They said accreditation could be in the form of a certificate, awarded at a celebration event, presented by someone they respected, and should be promoted and publicised in the press. 173 (31%) thought young people should have access to events, trips and facilities for displaying good behaviour. Respondents suggested the facilities could include access to extreme sports, which were not ordinarily available to young people, and the trips could include residential experiences, or travel to foreign countries. 169 (31%) said financial reward would not instil a permanent desire to act responsibly or to display good behaviour, and could be classed as ‘bribery’. It was felt young people should be encouraged to see the reward as participation in the activity, and to receive a ‘thank you’, rather than the monetary reward approach. 100 (18%) respondents said young people should be given increased responsibility which would give the young person a feeling that they were respected, valued and trusted. They thought the opportunity to take on leadership roles, or being responsible for mentoring or peer support roles would be of particular benefit. 87 (16%) felt that punishment and reward allowed young people to know the consequences of their actions, and gave them clear goals for achievement. 74 (13%) observed that the green paper appeared to concentrate on those young people who were already offending or likely to ‘get into trouble’. This failed to reward or to acknowledge, those well behaved and well balanced young people who did not get into trouble. 63 (11%) thought that opportunity cards were an excellent idea as an incentive for good behaviour. It was suggested that if the card used a points system, the points earned could be spent to gain cheaper services, or be saved and used towards a larger project. 49 (9%) said leisure vouchers were a good incentive, as these could allow young people to purchase clothes, attend concerts, buy sports equipment, and gain discounts for driving lessons etc. 48 (9%) felt the greatest motivation to get young people involved and promote good behaviour was financial. Q4 c) What sanctions should be applied for poor and disruptive behaviour? There were 608 responses to this question. 318 (52%) believed the use of sanctions to address issues of poor and disruptive behaviour was unlikely to be successful. They felt that the focus should be on positive behaviour and not negative. Respondents suggested the young people who would be penalised most, were the young people most likely to need more opportunities and positive interventions. It was felt these sanctions would just enforce more negativity, and it would be self-defeating to uphold them. 241 (40%) respondents thought rather than sanctioning young people, the root cause of their poor behaviour and dissatisfaction should be identified and addressed. Respondents believed the reasons for poor behaviour could be linked to low self esteem, bad relationships and lack of opportunities, and the reasons for their disruptive behaviour should be emphasised and resolved. 165 (27%) said when sanctions became necessary privileges such as access to activities could be withdrawn. It was suggested that isolating young people from their peers such as applying curfews was also an effective deterrent. However, respondents felt the boundaries should be clear and consistent and any sanctions applied should be equal and fair. 112 (18%) said that any exclusions and sanctions should be for a limited timescale only. They suggested young people should be told exactly why, and for how long, their ‘punishment’ was to be enforced, allowing them reinstatement back to activities etc after a set period of time. 102 (17%) were of the opinion that it was vital to involve young people in setting the standards of poor and disruptive behaviour. Respondents considered this would allow the sanction to be owned by the young person, and therefore they would be more likely to accept any sanctions that were applied to them. 95 (16%) thought there should be more rapport-building with an older peer or mentor, to allow one to one support for a young person showing early signs of disruptive behaviour. Q4 d) Do you know of any examples of schemes which have applied these kinds of incentives and sanctions effectively? There were 167 responses to this question. Respondents submitted many different examples, and these have been listed at Annex F. The examples most frequently raised were: 70 (42%) - Good youth work practice – the youth service found that incentives worked, but sanctions were unhelpful. Respondents suggested youth work accepted young people for who they were, respected rather than criticised them and challenged their behaviour rather than the person 51 (31%) - Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) was successful and had demonstrated evidence of diversionary tactics that work with high quality activities on offer, there were no financial incentives. Young people could select activities that interested and motivated them, and they were non-compulsory, which diminished the need for sanctions or incentives. In PAYP/U project withdrawal of the activity worked as a very strong sanction 34 (20%) - Restorative Justice Work of youth offending teams (YOT) - young people come face to face with the victims of their behaviour to see and hear how this had impacted on them 33 (20%) -School and formal education – successful schools use incentives and sanctions, and in general this worked for most young people 21 (13%) - Millennium Volunteers an organisation to encourage volunteering in young people 16 (10%) - Prince’s Trust self achievement awards. Q5 What more could be done to divert young people from risk- taking behaviour, like smoking, binge-drinking and volatile substance and illicit drugs misuse? There were 683 responses to this question. 327 (48%) felt that the most important aspect of risk taking behaviour for young people was access to advice, counselling and support. It was felt that young people would experiment with substances they should not use as a matter of course. It was suggested that the priority was to ensure they received the information they needed to find out the risks involved, and the consequences of their actions. 277 (41%) respondents said there must be more preventative work in the early years with an additional positive emphasis on a healthy lifestyle. They suggested there should be a coherent strategy for parental support from birth. 254 (37%) believed that risk taking by young people was part of human nature and therefore was inevitable. Respondents suggested that young people should be directed towards informed and less harmful risk taking activities, led by organisations that could allow them to take controlled ‘risk’ in safe surroundings. 240 (35%) suggested young people should be provided with more places to go such as youth clubs and centres, which should provide alternative positive activities that kept them interested, and away from risk taking behaviour. 190 (28%) said it would be a good idea for young people to receive information from ex-offenders talking in schools about the dangers involved in risk taking behaviour. It was suggested that young people were extremely image conscious and ex-offenders would be able to emphasise the unattractiveness and physical effects of smoking, drinking and drug and substance misuse. 122 (18%) believed there should be stricter controls on the sale and use of alcohol and tobacco, and tougher laws and punishment for drug dealing and drug using. 102 (15%) said that powerful advertising on television glamorised anti-social behaviour to young people, and this should be stopped. Respondents thought drinking alcohol as portrayed on television, made binge drinking exciting rather than unhealthy and anti-social. It was also felt that the extensive media coverage of casual sex made this type of behaviour seem normal for many young people. 93 (14%) thought there should be more street based youth work provision to engage with young people and develop trusting relationships. Q6 What practical benefits and challenges will there be in developing an integrated youth support service? There were 629 responses to this question. 413 (66%) said that a benefit of an integrated youth support service would be a more co-ordinated approach. They suggested the service would be improved by: A common assessment tool A better pooling of expertise Less duplication and agreed outcomes More joined up thinking Quality as opposed to quantity Sharing of resources and information Individual tailored support Early intervention. 293 (47%) thought a challenge would be about staffing and raised the following issues: Managing the various cultures that existed within different professions – a cultural shift was needed to ensure that young people were at the centre; not the organisation Professional groups with different methods working effectively together i.e. youth service, Connexions and social services Providing enough staff to ensure a rapid response and early intervention Motivating the workforce Lack of trust and relationships between agencies. 292 (46%) said training would be a challenge and raised the following issues: Properly trained staff were essential to deliver an integrated youth support service Workforce development was key, training was necessary so the service disciplines could effectively merge Retention of specialists working in multi-disciplinary teams Encourage people working with young people to acquire qualifications Training should be updated regularly There should be the same level of service anywhere in the country. 220 (35%) mentioned communication. Some respondents said communication would be improved between professionals and organisations by developing an integrated service, whilst others suggested that effective sharing of information would be a challenge. Those respondents who felt communication would be challenge, suggested information protocols would need to be improved. They thought some organisations felt they were more important than others, and would not share information because they had their own ‘agendas’. 202 (32%) said the biggest challenge was the provision of adequate funding. They felt it was vital to draw together all the funding sources and disseminate them effectively. Respondents suggested there was a great disparity across the country in terms of funding, especially in the voluntary sector. 200 (32%) acknowledged the benefit would be that the service would be a ‘one stop’ access, which would be valued by young people. They noted there would be fewer gaps in provision and it would prevent vulnerable young people falling through ‘the net’. Q7 How can the Connexions brand be used to best effect within the reformed system? There were 572 responses to this question. 290 (51%) respondents said the Connexions brand should be retained, particularly because of the amount of money spent on establishing the service. Respondents suggested this was an opportunity to develop and advertise the brand across all the services aimed at young people. It was also felt there was a risk that changing the brand would serve to confuse young people and the public about its role and relationship to other services. 213 (37%) thought that Connexions should be looked at to see where it failed and were it was successful, and then the successful parts should be used. It was suggested that Connexions was good at providing career advice, and respondents said if the Connexions brand was to be continued it should just focus on providing independent careers advice and nothing else. 210 (37%) said the strength of Connexions was that it was immediately recognised by the public and young people. They thought that young people in particular valued and trusted the Connexions brand, and they knew where to go, and who to go to for information and advice. 96 (17%) said that currently the quality of provision and coverage was extremely poor in some Connexions services and areas, and it would be better to restart with a new name and image. Q8 What more can we do to ensure that reformed services are focused on achieving the improved outcomes we all want to see? There were 526 responses to this question. 272 (52%) felt that it was imperative that strong partnerships were established and that mutual trust was built up. They said partnership working would establish working protocols. Respondents also thought it important that the voluntary sector was fully supported and involved, and their expertise and experience utilised. 199 (38%) felt that clear guidance should be developed and asked for the following to be considered: Ensure service providers were clear about their aims, what they were doing, and who for Guidance developed for Children’s Trust and the voluntary sector to enable voluntary organisations to be central to an integrated youth provision Clear lines of accountability and proper identification of roles and responsibilities Integrated targets and performance indicators must be set. 194 (37%) said a strong focus was needed in central and local government to provide leadership and strategy and ensure a common vision. They suggested it was vital that the government showed its commitment to an integrated youth support service by providing more funding and training resources. 179 (34%) thought there should be a genuine involvement of young people throughout, and the services subject to closer scrutiny and evaluation by them. 177 (34%) said there was a need for regular and rigorous monitoring, and clear sanctions must be in place if outcomes were not being met. Empowering Young People: Things to do and Places to go Q9 a) What do you think of the emphasis in the proposals on empowering young people themselves to shape local services? There were 826 responses to this question. 684 (83%) agreed 55 (7%) disagreed 87 (10%) were not sure The majority of respondents fully supported the proposals to empower young people to shape local services as long as it was real participation and empowerment and not tokenistic. 403 (49%) said it was good that young people were being listened to and given something positive to do. Respondents said if they were involved in decisions about facilities for them, they would have more pride and ownership and take more interest in making something work. 196 (24%) thought it was important to ensure there was a clear route to involvement in shaping local services for all young people. Some suggested adopting the ‘Hear by Right’ scheme. Respondents suggested young people would need skills and knowledge to make informed decisions, before they could be empowered and make their participation meaningful. 154 (19%) said dedicated resources were needed to support young people’s participation. They thought the idea of an ‘opportunity fund’ in each local authority which was to be spent on projects that young people wanted was excellent. 119 (14%) thought it was important to identify ‘what was possible’ if empowerment was to have any credibility. Respondents felt it was also important to help young people to understand why some things would be possible whilst others were not. 118 (14%) said it was important to ensure that all young people were consulted, not just those who were already motivated and articulate. Respondents believed the government should consider in greater depth how to ensure the participation of young people from disadvantaged or under-represented backgrounds in all areas of service design, development delivery and evaluation. They felt it would be difficult to see how ‘hard to reach’ young people would be engaged. 112 (14%) said young people would be more likely to engage if the local services met their needs, and they had been involved in shaping the service. They also noted that the empowerment of young people could not happen without the investment of time and support by adults who were genuinely concerned to empower young people. Q9 b) What options are there for achieving this? There were 520 responses to this question. 216 (42%) respondents said an option for young people to shape services would be through their engagement in youth forums, parliaments and councils. They stressed however that these groups must also have representation from disaffected/disadvantaged young people. 207 (40%) thought young people should be consulted. Respondents offered the following consultation methods: Questionnaires Door to door consultation Consultation in schools (captive and representative audience) Youth Council consultation events e -consultation. Respondents also suggested there was a wealth of information about effective models and best practice in both the statutory and voluntary sectors, and this information must be researched and drawn from inspection reports, or from direct contact with the organisations involved. 191 (37%) suggested there should be more young people led projects, and out of school activities that encouraged them to think for themselves, and helped them to make choices and take on responsibility. 179 (34%) said it was important that adults who worked with young people had the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to relate to them and their needs Q10 a) What should be done centrally to support the development and delivery of local opportunity cards? There were 793 responses to this question. 362 (46%) were unconvinced by the proposal to introduce an opportunity card, suggesting this would be another thing that under-achieving young people would fail at. Many said the card would have a national currency but must be administered locally which could be problematic. Respondents raised the following concerns: Connexions card uptake was a failure – one of the main issues affecting the take up and usage of the Connexions Card was the degree of centralisation, resulting in many of the discounts and opportunities being offered by national organisations that failed to meet local needs Opportunity cards would not work with disengaged young people – the card would most likely be used by motivated young people who were already participating, and it would do nothing to change the behaviour of the others Lack of access to facilities in rural areas would mean there would never be equality of access There was a danger that money currently going directly to provision, would be used to fund top-up payments to cards, and reduce the choices available to young people in their communities Money to administer the card would be better spent on front line services Low income families could not afford to ‘top-up’ the card, so allowing parents this facility would create a greater divide between the ‘have and the have not’ Lack of disabled facilities and opportunities for young people with disabilities. Some respondents felt opportunity cards should include an extra element so they could access the opportunities, e.g. provide/pay for a carer to go with them. There were a plethora of cards already on offer to young people. 304 (38%) respondents said the capital cost of the scheme was potentially huge, and investment was vital. Respondents thought funding was needed for start up costs, maintenance costs, installation costs, monitoring costs, and installing readers and linking them to local data bases. 261 (33%) agreed with the introduction of an opportunity card, and said it should be available for use anywhere in England, and be established using the ‘Young Scot Card’ as an example. Respondents suggested the following: Set national standards for delivery Clear guidance was required about the impact of benefits Young people liked the idea of the card and of receiving credits and discounts Guidance was needed for local authorities with regards to the design and implementation of the cards The cards would actively involve young people in their communities. 254 (32%) were concerned that using the card to provide sanctions against bad behaviour was flawed, and would contribute to further social exclusion. Respondents suggested withdrawing the card as a punishment would restrict access to positive activities that could help to rehabilitate these young people. 212 (27%) said all services should work together to develop the framework for the opportunity card, and supported the proposal to pilot the cards in selected local authorities. Respondents suggested using models currently in existence, and developing a card using the best practice from these, would create a card that met the needs of all young people. They also said market research with young people was necessary before pushing this idea forward. 144 (18%) respondents questioned who would define ‘disruptive’ behaviour, who would decide on the rewards and sanctions necessary, and how these would be monitored. 142 (18%) felt the card must be advertised extensively, and marketed to give it a positive image. 106 (13%) respondents expressed concerns that the opportunity card could be a ‘back door’ introduction to identity cards. Young people did not want their personal details on it and were worried in case the card was lost or stolen. Q10 b) How should opportunity cards be developed so that the maximum number of young people can benefit? There were 476 responses to this question. 235 (49%) respondents suggested that local opportunity cards would only work if there were enough opportunities available for its use. Respondents said it was essential that there were plenty of participating providers and establishments, who offered many varied activities to ensure young people felt there was some value in having the card. 205 (43%) supported a system that was not linked to behavioural standards and sanctions, or with the accrual or deduction of points. They said a credit system would be a better approach whereby if the young person did not behave they did not receive credits, but nothing was withdrawn. Respondents suggested the credits should be for subsidised transport costs for rural areas, and discounts for leisure and cultural activities. 165 (35%) said the card should be made available to all young people regardless of their background, and the scheme should be rolled out nationally. Respondents suggested giving the cards out in schools, and holding events both in and out of school, so young people could learn about them. 151 (32%) thought it was important to involve young people in the design and usage of the opportunity card to ensure that the card was considered useful and worth having. 42 (9%) said it would be better to develop the Connexions card which was already established, and had huge amounts of money spent on it, rather than setting up a new system. Q11 a) Which activities do you think have the most benefits for young people? There were 694 responses to this question. 394 (57%) respondents said individual choice was vital, and any activity was beneficial if it was what the young person had personally decided they wanted to do. 283 (41%) supported the plans to increase sporting activities, and said sport offered a wide range of beneficial participation opportunities for young people. Respondents said there was a real opportunity in light of Olympics 2012 to increase the potential of sport and highlight the importance of improving sports facilities and strategies. 280 (40%) thought creative activities were of benefit to young people and these included: Performing arts/drama Music Expressive arts/dance Crafts Cultural activities. 182 (26%) said work related activities that led to qualifications and future employment should be considered as a positive and motivational experience for young people. They thought work experience promoted self reliance and independence, and provided young people with the skills to be able to interact with people, and form positive relationships. 143 (21%) said there was a need to interest and involve more young people in voluntary work. 139 (20%) felt team building activities involved young people in constructive group interaction, and participation in collective decision making and planning. This in turn would develop their self awareness, raise their self esteem, and teach them the benefits of being socially responsible. 83 (12%) felt that there should be more youth clubs and youth community centres for young people to attend in a safe and friendly environment. 49 (7%) said there should be activities to raise young people’s awareness of health, fitness and healthy eating. Q11 b) Do the proposed national standards on activities cover the right areas? There were 687 responses to this question. 222 (32%) said yes 191 (28%) said no 274 (40%) were not sure Many respondents said the proposed national standards were clear and appropriate. However the majority disagreed or were not sure, and their issues and concerns are covered below. 162 (24%) thought the standards were sport focused, and there should be more emphasis on the potential of the arts. Respondents said access to two hours per week of cultural activity such as arts, drama, music and dance should be specified in the way that it was for sporting activity. 153 (22%) said the national standards were prescriptive. They suggested a wider range was needed and should include: Access to transport Healthy food Health and safety Learning, training and work opportunities Cultural activities Transition to adulthood International youth work Access and inclusion of disabled young people. 94 (14%) asked for further clarification on some of the standards. The following issues were raised: How would it be administered and monitored? Who defined constructive activity, who would judge whether the standards had been achieved, and what measures would be taken if local authorities failed to meet the standards? The emphasis appeared to be on quantity and not quality - standards were vague in terms of the performance indicators to be attached to the standards Two hours sporting activity per week needed defining - was this during school time or extra curricular? Further clarity was needed on ‘ambition’ as described in the document. It was unclear whose ‘ambition’ was being identified and whose ‘interests’ were served Clearer definition needed on terms such as ’access to’ and ‘sporting activity.’ 79 (11%) hoped that the specified range of activities would be a voluntary choice, and there would be no expectation that all young people must participate. 71 (10%) said more emphasis should be placed on the statutory youth service as the primary provider. It was suggested that young people needed access to trained youth workers to help them get the most out of activities, and felt the provision of high quality youth work support should be part of the national standard. 58 (8%) said presently, there was a limited range of activities for young people. In order to allow young people more experiences, further investment was needed. Q11 c) Are they achievable and affordable within existing resources? There were 640 responses to this question. 34 (5%) said yes 427 (67%) said no 179 (28%) were not sure The majority did not believe the national standards were affordable or achievable within existing resources. 440 (69%) said it was imperative that there was further funding and resource. Respondents put forward the following reasons: Investment was needed especially if what was on offer matched that anticipated under ‘Every Child Matters’ Rural communities would not achieve the standards through existing resources Expanding services without additional investment would dilute existing services There was considerable geographic variation in resources Voluntary sector and youth service were currently under resourced and could not provide free activities or opportunities. Young People as Citizens: Making a Contribution Q12 Will our proposals, taken together with those of the Russell Commission, lead to increased mutual respect between young people and others in the community? There were 724 responses to this question. 246 (34%) said yes 100 (14%) said no 378 (52%) were not sure Many respondents agreed that the proposals outlined in the Russell Commission report within the green paper, should lead to an increased mutual respect between young people and others in the community. However the majority were unconvinced and said it was difficult to assess the likely impact of the proposals, and time would be needed to evaluate this. 197 (27%) said there must be sufficient opportunities for young people to volunteer and be involved in things they could relate to and see the benefit of taking part. 175 (24%) thought that respect was a two way process and there must be mutual respect between both young people and adults. It was suggested that adults needed to learn to respect young people and their diversity, just as much as young people needed to gain trust and respect from adults. 168 (23%) thought a problem was the media, and said mutual respect would only be achieved when the constant stream of negative news stories was stopped, and more positive aspects reported on. Respondents said it was extremely important to raise the profile of good and positive news stories. 116 (16%) said the proposals would need to be well managed, and the community would need to show support to young people through its businesses, police, social and voluntary services etc. It was felt that this would create a community wide support service to allow young people to increase respect and to show empathy for the communities they lived in. Respondents thought intergenerational and cultural respect could only be developed in a mutual environment. 99 (14%) felt this would only work if there was additional sustained funding and resources. It was said that a major cost to volunteering was the provision of travel expenses. 75 (10%) said the proposals depended on the quality of staff who were driving this work forward. They said staff must have the skills and support to carry it through to full effect. 58 (8%) thought the proposals depended significantly on volunteering and volunteers tended to come from a small section of society. It was thought highly unlikely that the disengaged young person would get involved in volunteering. Q13 What more can we do to recognise and celebrate young people's positive contributions to their communities? There were 603 responses to this question. 417 (69%) respondents said there should be more public events and award ceremonies to celebrate and recognise the constructive contributions made by young people. 394 (65%) suggested there should be positive media coverage, from both the local and national press. It was thought that press stories should provide a fairer representation of young people instead of the current trend of negative press coverage. Many said the use of celebrities was needed to profile volunteering across the media. 135 (22%) said young people should be asked how they would like their positive contributions recognised and celebrated, and their views should be listened to. It was suggested young people were individuals and how their achievements were recognised would need to have an individual meaning. 118 (20%) felt it was important to support young people and offer them support, encouragement and praise. Q14 Would the opportunity to earn rewards motivate young people to get involved in their communities? There were 720 responses to this question. 252 (35%) said yes 152 (21%) said no 316 (44%) were not sure There was a mixed reaction from respondents to the proposal of offering rewards to young people for volunteering. Although many said rewards could be a motivator, the majority felt young people should be encouraged to volunteer for the ‘rewarding experience’ and not be ‘bribed’ into volunteering. Respondents felt paying for what were traditionally volunteering opportunities, would undermine the concept of active participation and the voluntary nature of the activity, and focused the young person on money rather than an altruistic service. 288 (40%) suggested that young people who wanted to volunteer would do so anyway, and a reward such as money or material goods could attract young people who would volunteer just for the financial incentives, and not because they really wanted to participate or benefit their communities. 282 (39%) felt young people simply liked to be praised and recognised for their efforts. Respondents said giving verbal praise fostered self esteem and self respect in young people. 260 (36%) said different things motivated different people and the opportunity to earn rewards would depend on young people, and the community they lived in. Respondents suggested the green paper did not show a full understanding of the issues involved about motivation and participation, and felt the document read like an adult perspective of what young people should be doing without any assessment from young people themselves. It was said that young people would need to be consulted to make progress in this area. 75 (10%) said rewards could be a certificate or accreditation based on the ‘learning’ the young person had acquired through their volunteering experiences. This accreditation could then act as ‘proof’ of the skills they have achieved to help them gain employment in the future. 51 (7%) thought the rewards should be in the form of vouchers or credits on the proposed opportunity card. They said the credits should focus on access to sports, and discounts on entertainment, clothes and in food outlets etc. Q15 How can we ensure that young people from the diverse range of communities that make up today's society are effectively engaged by service providers? There were 517 responses to this question. 262 (51%) respondents said it was essential that service providers ensured their workers represented the diverse range of communities that they served by recruiting them from the same diverse groups. They felt that staff must be culturally competent and fully understood the needs of these diverse communities. 217 (42%) said it was vital to ensure that the services provided matched the diverse range of communities. It was suggested flexible and varied provision must be developed, and services should be relevant and easily accessible to young people, so barriers were removed for participation from these target groups. 205 (40%) thought this could be achieved by setting up link groups. Respondents suggested working in partnership with local community groups, the voluntary service and the statutory service would establish a regular dialogue and better links. 133 (26%) said that there must be wider publicity, which could be achieved by service providers going out into the communities to actively connect with young people and start to engage in cross-cutting work. 24 (5%) believed that using personal advisors, or peer mentors were good ways in which to engage young people to talk and mix with others. Supporting Choices: Information, Advice and Guidance Q16 What kind of help and support is most important for young people? There were 696 responses to this question. 419 (60%) respondents said it was vital that all help and support given to young people was relevant, honest and non judgemental. 318 (46%) thought it was important that young people had access to support and guidance at a time and place that suited them, preferably 24/7. 296 (43%) said young people needed a peer mentor to ensure face to face support from a skilled and knowledgeable person, who they knew and trusted; and that the advice was given in a safe setting. 224 (32%) felt young people needed help and support relating to career advice and raised the following as examples: Qualification and career options Transitional support Access to work experience Post 16 opportunities in further education colleges. 197 (28%) said young people needed help on lifestyle issues and raised the following as examples: Family and personal relationships Drug awareness - substance misuse Health issues including sexual health and teenage pregnancy Homelessness Access to benefits - finances. 171 (25%) thought it was extremely important that any advice given to young people was confidential. 142 (20%) said the support should be provided by knowledgeable staff who could identify young peoples needs, recognising the need for specialist help from professionals when it was necessary. 91(13%) suggested that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) was a valuable tool for providing help to young people, and advice and guidance could be placed on websites to allow young people to access it whenever they needed it. Q17 How can we ensure that information, advice and guidance provided to young people is comprehensive, impartial and challenges rather than perpetuates traditional stereotypes? There were 627 responses to this question. 307 (49%) respondents suggested that staff delivering the information advice and guidance (IAG) service must be qualified and knowledgeable, and have good interpersonal skills if this was to work. 263 (42%) said it was important that those delivering the service received quality training, and there should be continuous professional development (CPD) for guidance workers. 227 (36%) thought clear and transparent standards should be set for the delivery and evaluation of IAG services. Respondents said it was vital that all IAG conformed to these quality standards to ensure there were no stereotypical expectations of young people. 207 (33%) said impartiality was best served by ensuring there was a strategy of putting the young person first, and making sure advisers were independent of any particular provider. Respondents felt young people should be asked to participate in developing an IAG service, there should be regular and ongoing consultation, and they should be listened to and their views acted on. 139 (22%) said it was important that the service was monitored and evaluated, with follow up information and feedback from young people to determine what worked and what did not. 124 (20%) thought IAG must be delivered by user friendly methods, and materials must be produced which were specific and relevant to the needs of particular groups. Respondents suggested various media such as: videos, CD Rom, and ICT. 47 (7%) felt there should improved financial support to enable providers to offer a more comprehensive service. Some respondents said funding must not be provided to organisations whose advice was biased or came from a particular perspective. Q18 What do you think of our proposals to devolve responsibility for information, advice and guidance and guidance to children's trusts, schools and colleges? There were 820 responses to this question. 214 (26%) agreed 252 (31%) disagreed 354 (43%) were not sure The majority of respondents had reservations about proposals to give the responsibility for Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) to schools and colleges. They felt schools and colleges had a specific agenda and could hold back information about other institutions. Those respondents who did agree said this proposal was a good idea because there was a captive audience, and young people knew the staff. More in-depth analysis is provided below: 305 (37%) did not agree with devolving IAG responsibility and funding to schools, and said they would not be impartial or confidential, and could be biased in favour of their own institutions. Respondents gave examples of: Schools that had sixth forms where there could be an element of competition with local college provision Young people choosing not to use the information advice and guidance services in schools because of the perception that any disclosures they made would be reported to the head teacher, and subsequently to their parents Loss of quality management structures Loss of management information, labour market information and tracking ex pupils and students provided by the existing IAG structure Schools not providing the same quality and accessibility to IAG. 210 (26%) felt it would be extremely difficult to maintain independence, and impartiality was essential, therefore the remit for IAG should be given to a totally independent body. 187 (23%) said the most likely people in need of IAG would be the young people not attending schools. Respondents asked how the issues would be addressed for young people not accessing education. They suggested Children’s Trusts must have a specific duty to address the needs of all the young people who did not attend school or college, especially the ‘at risk’ groups, such as young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). 130 (16%) felt that placing the responsibility for IAG entirely with schools would be problematic, and therefore an impartial independent body should also be involved, ensuring schools did not have overall responsibility. Respondents also said the perspective of employers would be necessary for young people to receive good quality career and labour market information. 127 (15%) supported the devolution of responsibility for information, advice and guidance to Children’s Trusts working in partnership with schools and colleges. However, they did not support the devolving of responsibility and funding to schools and colleges directly. 124 (15%) said schools did not have enough trained staff or the resource to provide the extra support and guidance needed. Respondents thought the ‘youth offer’ would be largely done through extended school schemes, and the role and responsibilities of head teachers and governing bodies in delivering the offer would require clarification. 114 (14%) were concerned that schools and colleges were allowed to ‘opt out’ if they believed the Connexions service was poor. Respondents said there would need to be clearly defined measures before school and colleges were allowed to do this. They suggested allowing schools and colleges to ‘opt out’ could lead to fragmented services, and would not meet the standards of impartiality. 78 (10%) felt it was appropriate for the responsibility to be devolved to the Children’s Trust because it was a body that would bring together all the partners responsible for delivering services to young people, which would then provide a more coordinated approach. 44 (5%) said IAG should be added to the curriculum as components of Personal Social Health Citizenship Education (PSHCE) to ensure young people were offered the chance to learn about and experience different opportunities. Q19 a) Do you agree that it is important to have minimum expectations of the information, advice and guidance received by young people? There were 757 responses to this question. 686 (91%) said yes 25 (3%) said no 46 (6%) were not sure The vast majority of respondents believed it was crucial to set minimum standards. 207 (27%) respondents stated these expectations should be made standard because it was very important that young people nationally received the same quality of IAG. 134 (18%) said there should be high expectations, not just ‘minimum’. Respondents expressed concern that if the expectations were presented as minimum, many schools could choose to restrict their provision to these ‘minimum’ expectations. 125 (17%) were of the opinion that minimum standards were absolutely essential. 66 (9%) believed that career advice must improve if young people were to achieve their full potential. 43 (6%) mentioned that IAG should be standardised around the country and then localised to provide flexibility for problems in local areas. Q19 b) Are the proposed expectations correct for each age group? There were 608 responses to this question. 197 (33%) said yes 167 (27%) said no 244 (40%) were not sure Although many respondents said the proposals were broadly correct and a good starting point, most were unconvinced that the expectations were correct for each age group. 164 (27%) said development was different for each young person, and age did not equate to maturity. Respondents stated there should be more flexibility, as age should not necessarily be the deciding factor because ability and understanding were not age related. 78 (13%) of respondents mentioned other age groups and expectations and suggested the following: Expectations should start in the primary phase i.e. year 6 Input at age 11-12 should also include sexual relationships and health, drugs and alcohol abuse, appropriate to this age group IAG/CEG interventions at 15-16, 16 -17 and 17-18 - respondents felt the expectations were very vague about the support for young people between16 to 18 More definition about housing needs for 16-18 age group More than one personal session was needed for year 9 What about young people not in education employment or training (NEET) groups? 72 (12%) felt there was too much emphasis on work, education, and school, and they were not broad enough to cover young people’s holistic needs. Respondents highlighted the need for the expectations to cover personal, health and lifestyle issues. Q20 a) Do you agree there is a case for quality standards for information, advice and guidance? If so, what should they cover? There were 745 responses to this question. 673 (90%) said yes 12 (2%) said no 60 (8%) were not sure The vast majority of respondents said quality standards were essential in order to ensure consistency of provision, and welcomed the emphasis on quality standards, inspection and rigorous scrutiny. Some thought there should be a national quality award for careers education, information advice and guidance. 239 (32%) said there should be minimum qualifications for staff who were delivering IAG, with on-going training to ensure quality support was maintained. 197 (26%) felt the criteria for the standards should relate to impartiality of information, accessibility and ensuring the advice given to young people was up to date and accurate. 78 (10%) respondents said the quality of careers advice was a decisive factor, and the quality standards should demonstrate an understanding of career planning theory. 67 (9%) stated that quality standards should cover all the advice given to young people. 38 (5%) said lifestyle issues should be a feature of quality standards for IAG. Those put forward by respondents were; health (including mental and emotional welfare), diet, housing, substance abuse, education and training. Q20 b) How can they be made affordable without putting pressure on financial or workforce resources? There were 389 responses to this question. 194 (50%) respondents were of the opinion that the proposals were not affordable without additional funding. Respondents also raised the following issues concerning funding: Resources would be needed for extended schools and ECM agenda Funding withdrawn from Connexions before any agreement was reached on commissioning would be disruptive and de-stabilising Resources should not be delegated to schools for careers advice National Audit Office has already reported there was insufficient resource allocated to the Connexions service Branding and opportunity cards were of no value and this funding should be used to improve quality. 156 (40%) said examples available already should be looked at to stop duplication and financial pressure, these included: Matrix quality standard for IAG services Investors in people Adult learning inspectorate NVQ standards IAG learner support Connexions service CAF (Children’s index) Youth Access. 103 (26%) suggested that a lot of agencies provided IAG to varying levels, and working together to share best practice, resources and premises would cut down on overheads. Respondents also believed that partnership with the voluntary sector was a strategic way forward to grow capacity and demand. 36 (9%) felt the use of modern technology should be increased, and the internet should be used more to provide advice. Respondents suggested websites such as the ‘Young People’s Network’ and ‘Youthnet’. Q21 Would quality awards for IAG help to ensure high quality and impartiality? There were 645 responses to this question. 340 (53%) said yes 99 (15%) said no 206 (32%) were not sure There were mixed views on the issue of a quality award for IAG. Those respondents who agreed felt that awards could be a useful tool to ensure common understanding and to drive up quality and impartiality. The others said it could become bureaucratic, all agencies did not have equal access to funding and resources, and they were concerned about how the award would be assessed. 136 (21%) respondents suggested the introduction of a national quality ‘kite mark’. 75 (12%) were sceptical that an award would ensure quality and impartiality believing that only adequate training, funding, robust quality reviews and resources would ensure this. 59 (9%) said if quality awards were launched then it would be essential that best practice was disseminated across the country to drive up standards. Q22 Do you think a 'personal health MoT' for 12-13 year olds would be an effective way of helping young people make a successful transition to the teenage years and to secondary education? There were 673 responses to this question. 255 (38%) said yes 135 (20%) said no 283 (42%) were not sure There were mixed views on the introduction of a personal health MOT for 12 to 13 year old young people. Respondents who were in favour of the MOT suggested it could identify young people at risk and would get them into a routine of checking their health. They suggested the MOT should be an ongoing test, and should cover all aspects of health and not just the physical aspects, i.e. emotional, mental, relationships and sexuality. Respondents who disagreed or were unsure did not like the phrase ‘MOT’ and said the test: Was intrusive Was gimmicky Needed clarification on the nature, training and priorities for any staff involved in the ‘personal MOT’ Was another test for young people to pass or fail. 204 (30%) expressed concerns that the health MOT would be resource intensive and additional funding would be required for schools to introduce this. Respondents also asked whose responsibility it would be to carry out the checks i.e. education or health, and stated that schools would need help from the support agencies to address any concerns which were raised by the MOT. 127 (19%) said the health MOT should be undertaken at an earlier age than 12 to 13, preferably at 10 to 11, because young people were maturing more quickly. Respondents believed different young people faced different problems at different times, so it was difficult to generalise on an age based need. 66 (10%) observed that the green paper failed to mention if the MOT would be voluntary or compulsory, and were of the opinion that it should be optional in order that young people could choose if they wanted it. 62 (9%) said the health MOT would be a chance to ensure young people were aware of the dangers to their health if they participated in risk taking behaviour. 34 (5%) said a health MOT would alleviate a young person’s concerns, especially in relation to their emotional needs and mental health issues. All Young People Achieving: Reforming Targeted Support Q23 Do you think there is a good case for bringing together within children's trusts responsibility for commissioning different services which provide support to young people with additional needs? There were 709 responses to this question. 492 (70%) said yes 30 (4%) said no 187 (26%) were not sure The majority of respondents agreed that children’s trusts should have this responsibility, and said this would streamline services, improve outcomes for young people, have a core of expertise, and there would be only one accountable body. 245 (35%) acknowledged that there were obvious benefits to this proposal. However they said children’s trusts would need to have clear direction and accountability. Respondents made the following comments: They should have a remit of developing innovative, inclusive and responsive services Integration would be difficult and children’s trusts would need to manage agencies with different cultural outlooks and ways of working They would need to ensure that professional boundaries and specialisms were clear. 148 (21%) respondents suggested that resources should be ‘ring fenced’ in order to ensure targeted and specialist services for those young people who were in the greatest need were properly provided for. 148 (21%) said this would provide the opportunity for better planning and more joined up provision, preventing both duplication and vulnerable young people falling through the gaps in the provision. 132 (19%) expressed concerns about the commissioning process and raised the following issues: The commissioning process must be open and transparent, and the voluntary service must be included Commissioning decisions must be taken through partnership governance arrangements Commissioned services must make effective use of the available expertise and resources Commissioning IAG from different organisations could further weaken the provision for young people with additional needs Children’s Trusts could overlook the needs of young people and focus primarily on children A long term view must be taken. 68 (10%) said provision for young people with additional needs should be included into existing provision, and not different services. They felt separating universal IAG from ‘targeted support’ would lead to the development of a two tier service which would be stigmatizing and ineffective, re-creating the ‘gaps’ that the Connexions strategy sought to bridge. They said there was a danger that young people with additional needs were directed towards ‘care agencies’ rather than through the non-formal education curriculum, and said they should not be treated as a separate group, and must be able to access the universal service. Q24 How can we ensure that young people facing particular barriers, for example those who are disabled, are effectively engaged by service providers? There were 576 responses to this question. 244 (42%) respondents thought there would be training implications for staff to ensure they had the expertise necessary to identify, and address the barriers young people could face. 241 (42%) stated that the best way for young people to engage in provision was to ensure there was a range of different access routes to provision, and that physical access was made as easy as possible. Respondents felt disabled people faced a number of barriers in reaching access, and transport and personal care were mentioned. 215 (37%) said that the ‘Common Assessment Framework’ would identify the needs and barriers of young people with particular needs, and service providers should network and have a more joined up approach to ensure these needs were met. 195 (34%) respondents felt young people should be asked what barriers they faced so providers could understand them and work towards breaking them down. 162 (28%) said funding should be in place to enable young people to access the services provided. It was suggested that some facilities needed funding to make adaptations for access. 70 (12%) felt it was vital to involve and consult parents and carers. Q25 How can we ensure that the new lead professional role is successful in co-ordinating the delivery of targeted support to young people who need it? There were 573 responses to this question. 287 (50%) said the lead professional (LP) must have credibility to gain acceptance from all service providers, developing effective working partnerships, and managing communication and the sharing of information. Respondents said there would need to be a lot of work done by the LP to break down potential barriers and to build trust between professional disciplines and across all agencies. 257 (45%) were of the opinion that presently there were not many skilled lead professionals, and therefore training and resources would be vital to introduce this role. 254 (44%) said the LP must have the authority to make decisions, have transparent accountability, and clear powers to command collaboration from all partners. 186 (32%) felt it was important that the LP had the ability to connect with young people, otherwise the young person would find it difficult to engage effectively, thus diminishing the benefit of this strategy. 155 (27%) said this role should be part of the quality standards, and common standards of professional practice must be set up to ensure a quality assurance system. 86 (15%) expressed concerns about the role of the lead professional and said care should be taken in developing this idea. Respondents suggested that a mechanism must be in place to resolve who would take on the ‘lead role’, and that the LP had clear values which placed young people at the centre of the decision making. 68 (12%) thought the concept of a lead professional role was originally designed for the personal advisor (PA) role in Connexions. Respondents suggested that it would save time and resource if this PA role was developed to shape the lead professional role because of the training they had undertaken in order to advocate and negotiate with other agencies to get the best outcome for each individual. 56 (10%) said a problem could be that the lead professional was given an unrealistic caseload of work, which would prevent them from being able to carry out the intensive support work needed for individual young people. Q26 What more could be done to help older teenagers make a smooth transition to support from adult services, where they need them? There were 500 responses to this question. 312 (62%) respondents said the system currently disconnected young people quite abruptly when they reached 18, and this process must be less inflexible. Respondents believed there should be more transitional support, with a need to set up transition teams to help address this problem. 187 (37%) felt that Youth Matters was relatively weak on issues around transitions into adulthood, many believed that the way to make it easier for older teenagers to make a smooth transition from youth support to adult services would be to achieve greater coordination between adult support services, and those services supporting young people. Respondents said adult and youth services working together would aid communication, and ensure that transition was not so sudden and not such a big change in ethos. 144 (29%) said at present there were not many transitional adult support services to transfer young people to. Therefore respondents suggested that the age range of the youth support service should be extended beyond 19, because the applied distinction between young people and adults on the basis of age was unhelpful. Respondents believed that it was important to treat young people according to the stage they have reached rather than their age. 71 (14%) felt it was important that young people were made aware of the services on offer and suggested having a local ‘one stop shop’ facility were they could receive all the information they needed under one roof. 59 (12%) said there should be a national training strategy to educate service workers about the transitional needs of young people. Parents Q27 At what stage(s) of their children's lives would parents find it most helpful to receive information about how they can support their teenage children? There were 516 responses to this question. 289 (56%) respondents said there should be open access to information for parents, ranging from birth to adulthood rather than at fixed stages. Respondents felt that accessing information and support should be a universal service for parents. 147 (28%) felt parents should receive information about how to help their children from year 6 (age 10-11) in primary school, because they thought this was when most difficulties started to arise. 110 (21%) thought the earlier a parent could receive information the better. Some respondents suggested before children reached puberty at around the age of nine, whilst others thought pre-school because so many of the necessary life skills and developmental seeds were sown at this age. 95 (18%) said parents must receive information at the times of transitional phases of their children’s lives: Age 11 - year 7 move into secondary education Age 13 - year 9 choosing GCSE subjects Age 15 to 16 - year 11 to consider alternatives after GCSEs Age 16 to 17 - year 12 to discuss possible HE choices and applications. Q28 a) On which issues would parents of teenagers most like support? There were 418 responses to this question. The issues on which parents felt they would need more support were self explanatory and are listed below: 259 (62%) Drug abuse and solvents 243 (58%) Behaviour/anger management - understanding how and why teenagers behaved like they did 219 (52%) Sex education - sexual relationships and sexual health/disease 185 (44%) Alcohol- under age drinking, alcohol abuse 182 (44%) Career choices - employment, training, work experience 178 (43%) Health issues - healthy lifestyle - eating, self harm, mental health 178 (43%) Further education - information on HE, college courses. Q28 b) How, or through whom should information be delivered? There were 497 responses to this question. 297 (60%) respondents said information should be available from a variety of sources in order to normalise the process of seeking advice and support. Some of the places they suggested were: Children’s trusts Doctor’s and dentist surgeries Post Offices Libraries Health centres and clinics Youth venues and community centres Churches Chemists Supermarkets. 205 (41%) thought that this information should be delivered through schools and extended schools, and further and higher education establishments. 178 (36%) said modern technology should be used to deliver information to parents. Methods suggested were via email, text messages, through the media, websites and parent support help lines. 106 (21%) believed staff who worked closely with young people and families such as youth workers were invaluable to provide information to parents. 105 (21%) thought parents should be entitled to one to one support with professional specialist advisors. 62 (12%) said advice should be delivered through Connexions personal advisors. Q29 How could schools help parents remain involved with their teenagers' learning and future education opportunities? There were 437 responses to this question. 309 (71%) respondents said better relationships should be built with parents, and they should not be invited to school only when there were problems with their child. It was suggested a culture should be developed to involve parents more. Respondents stressed the following: Parents should be welcomed into school - many may have had negative experiences from their own school life Schools should treat parents as partners Parents should be involved in school activities Parents should be consulted and their views listened to There should be clear channels of communication to include two way feedback. 173 (40%) were of the opinion that parent teacher groups, or parent teacher associations would involve parents in their teenager’s future learning and education opportunities. Respondents also suggested that parent focus groups, and consultation evenings which included their children would also help. 127 (29%) said more information must be sent out to parents to inform them about the programme of learning undertaken by their child and to report on progress. 114 (26%) felt that schools must be more accommodating and welcomed the extended schools approach of open access provision. Respondents said extended schools provided an excellent opportunity to provide parental support, and educational opportunities could also be enhanced for parents in this setting. Q30 Do you have any other general comments? There were 605 responses to this question. 297 (49%) felt the green paper proposals were under resourced, and respondents challenged the amount of opportunity funding that had been made available. They said £40 million over two years was not enough to enable local authorities to develop new approaches to strategic investment in youth facilities. 213 (35%) suggested the green paper was an ‘urban model’ and could not be used within a rural community; they were keen to ensure that rural issues were addressed. Respondents said access to transport and services was a key issue for young people in rural areas. 159 (26%) supported the idea of one organisation having explicit responsibility for the welfare of young people. They suggested that the Connexions service had previously been given this responsibility, but Connexions had not worked together with the youth service as a fully integrated service supporting young people. Respondents said Youth Matters must ensure that they do become a fully integrated youth support service. Some respondents also suggested that consideration should be given to an integrated youth support service for young people aged 11-19 as opposed to 13-19 so it began when they entered secondary education. 136 (22%) thought the most important objective was to be in touch with young people, and base the proposals around them, and not on what adults or politicians thought they wanted. 127 (21%) raised the following issues surrounding the voluntary sector: Long term contracts must be given to the voluntary sector to give stability for staffing and planning The role of the voluntary sector was critical in engaging young people as citizens and supporting their development, it was suggested that the green paper made little of the benefits of engaging with this sector Funding would be an issue for voluntary organisations A credit style card would not work in the voluntary sector unless they were given the correct equipment. They said they would be unable to cope without resource to ‘scan’ the cards to allow young people free entrance to facilities Lack of voluntary sector representation on strategic partnerships. 93 (15%) asked for greater clarity and guarantees around the continuation of the Connexions service. Respondents felt a new integrated service would impact on the workforce currently located in Connexions. 88 (15%) expressed concerns that large private companies would have an unfair advantage over small voluntary organisations. They suggested it was important to incorporate the skills and expertise of the work force currently located in Connexions, youth services, the voluntary, community and private sectors. 62 (10%) said the paper lacked clarity around the responsibilities of local authorities, children’s trusts and schools, and other services such as youth services and extended schools. Respondents said this lack of clarity was unlikely to help local authorities to deliver services for all young people. 34 (6%) noted they had very positive experiences with local authorities and welcomed more control being placed at that level. 34 (6%) said there would be an ongoing need for thorough evaluation, covering all aspects of the proposals when they are put into legislation.
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