29 March 2019
Welcome to this month’s update on the policy context for London Youth members. You can find previous policy updates here.
Our policy & media work
We responded to the House of Commons Women & Equalities Committee’s Mental Health of Men and Boys Inquiry, which closed on Monday 18th March. Our thanks to St Michael & All Angels Steel Orchestra, Young Ealing Foundation, and Khulisa for contributing to our response. Our response had the following key messages:
- Our members have serious concerns about the mental health and wellbeing support available to young people in London, particularly through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
- Youth work is an effective way of broadening access to mental health support. Despite the Government’s welcome increased focus on young people’s mental health, youth and community organisations have not seen the same support as education-based mental health support.
- Programmes that young people enjoy, such as sports or cultural opportunities, are an incredibly effective means of outreach for and delivery of mental health support.
- The mental health of young men and boys in London is adversely affected by the cost of living, concern about safety and violence, and access to youth and mental health services.
Read our full response below.
Spring Statement 2019
On 13th March, the Chancellor released the Spring Statement 2019. We welcomed a commitment of £100 million to tackle youth violence, but were disappointed to not see the resources to put the youth sector on a sustainable footing or to tackle the root causes of violence in London. Rosemary Watt-Wyness, our chief executive, said:
“I welcome the Chancellor’s commitment of significant additional funding to tackle youth violence around the country. Ensuring that all of our young people can grow up in safety should be the top priority of every policymaker.
I do have concerns that the approach outlined in the Spring Statement focuses too heavily on the role of police and enforcement, and not enough on the complex root causes of poverty and the lack of positive opportunities for our young people.
Given the majority of young perpetrators have themselves been the victims of violence, an enforcement approach alone will not end violence or heal the trauma in our communities.
I cannot overstate how important it is for every single young person in London to have a place close by where they feel safe and supported. Community youth organisations provide this.
That is why the Chancellor must ensure that this year’s Spending Review includes a heavy reinvestment in youth work and the future of young Londoners”.
You can read our full statement in response below.
Our work in the media
This month, we partnered with Movement to Work and IHEART to bring attention to the critical role that positive employment and employability opportunities play in reducing youth violence. You can read the articles in Children & Young People Now and FE News.
- The Home Office has announced that Impetus PEF will distribute the £200 million, 10-year Youth Endowment Fund to tackle youth violence. The first grants are expected in autumn 2019.
- The Department for Education has opened its consultation, Review of Post-16 Qualifications at Level 3 and Below in England, which closes on 10th June.
- The Commons Housing, Communities & Local Government Committee has opened an inquiry into local government finances, which closes on 17th April.
- Commissioner Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Service, gave evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee on the Government’s response to serious violence.
- The Guardian have published articles about how youth organisations deter violence and the impact of youth service cuts.
- CityMetric have published an article about the difficulty of measuring inequality in a given area, such as Greater London or Kensington.
- The London Victims’ Commissioner is calling for a legal rights for victims of crime, including young people.
- There has been a 26% reduction in young people taking up apprenticeships since 2015/16, despite Government changes aimed at achieving the opposite.
- The Mayor of London has criticised a ‘black hole’ of 9,000 places in special needs skills provision.
- The Mayor of London has called for school ‘off-rolling’ to be banned.
- DCMS announced £1.2 million charity safeguarding programme.
Reports & resources
- Sian Berry AM has published an updated version of her report, London’s Lost Youth Services, which quotes London Youth.
- Ofsted published Safeguarding Children and Young People in Education from Knife Crime.
- Children’s Rights Alliance England (CRAE) published State of Children’s Rights 2018.
- Hestia published On the Sidelines: The economic and personal cost of childhood exposure to domestic violence.
Get in touch
Our Policy Advisory Group is the best way for our members to be at the heart of the policy and media work that we do to represent you and the youth sector in London. Please consider joining this email group so we can get in touch about opportunities to engage on specific issues.
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or to get involved in our upcoming policy work.