03 December 2018

The Labour Party have consulted on their policy, Building a Statutory Youth Service, which closed on 30th November.


Our response

London Youth strongly supports a commitment to put the youth sector on a statutory basis. Access to free, high-quality youth provision for all, to complement the education system, is essential to supporting young people’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing and supporting their transition to adulthood.

Following the Labour Party’s announcement of a policy of statutory youth services, we have encouraged all political parties to follow suit. We argue that good youth provision should be a public service that young people have a right to and can access irrespective of which party is in government. We believe that young people should be able to rely on a high quality youth work system with the same confidence that they can rely on the healthcare or education systems.

Young people in London have been negatively affected by the drastic cuts to youth provision funding over the last decade. We consider it vital for there to be a significant reinvestment in youth work that returns baseline funding to pre-2010 levels and seeks to address a decade of under-investment with additional resources.

The importance of voluntary and community youth organisations to the youth sector in London cannot be understated. Since 2011/12, youth provision in London has increasingly been delivered by the voluntary and community sector due to reductions of local authority’s youth service budgets of at least £39 million per year. We consider that community youth organisations should be strongly involved in the proposed local partnerships and will also be vital to delivering services commissioned by these partnerships.

Building trusted relationships is the basis for youth work and for all professionals working with young people. Youth workers are in a unique position to build trust with young people because, unlike many of the services and professionals young people interact with, their only purpose is the wellbeing and development of the young person. This trust allows youth workers to support young people and to effectively signpost them to specialist services or targeted programmes. Trusted relationships take time to develop and cannot be replaced with multiple, lower quality relationships. We consider that these relationships are best developed by high quality, open access youth provision.

We are strongly supportive of a commitment to put the youth sector on a statutory basis. We acknowledge that this policy is in its initial stages of development and note that the current version has not fully developed several important areas about the structure and role of the proposed statutory youth service. We welcome further clarification of these issues and encourage the Labour Party to consider further targeted consultation, particularly with young people and community youth organisations, once this has been achieved. We welcome further engagement and would be willing to facilitate this process with our diverse membership of over 400 community youth organisations in London.


About the consultation

The Labour Party’s draft policy would create a commitment to place universal youth provision on a statutory basis if they were in government.

Their draft policy would mandate every local area to establish a local youth service partnership to provide strategic leadership, assess local provision, and publish a local youth strategy.

These local youth service partnerships would be supported by a national body with dedicated ring-fenced funding. The national body would work with all local youth service partnerships and voluntary organisations, review local youth strategies, monitor and distribute funding, and advise on professional and service standards.

Under the policy, all young people would be entitled to inclusive, open access youth services, which would have the following aims:

  • Ensure the personal and social development of young people
  • Secure active involvement by young people in relevant activities and local decision-making
  • Assist young people to realise their full potential and play a full part in the community
  • Enable young people to live successfully in a modern digitally connected global community

Samuel Howell, Policy Officer