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07 September 2018

Welcome to London Youth’s monthly update on the policy context for our members and the youth sector. You can find July’s update here.


Politics & Policy

Parliament returned on 4th September. Next month, Labour will hold their conference in Liverpool between the 23rd and 26th September. The Conservative conference will be in Birmingham between the 30th and 3rd October.

The most important development of August was the release of the Government’s Civil Society Strategy. The strategy, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), lays out the Government’s plans for civil society and is the first such strategy in 15 years. The strategy is also the Government’s central plan for youth policy, following the decision to abandon the planned youth policy statement in 2017.

We have produced a handy summary of the most important parts of the Civil Society Strategy for our members and youth organisations here

The strategy seeks to set out the Government’s approach to supporting and developing the United Kingdom’s civil society, which it defines as all organisations delivering social value that are independent of state control. The strategy draws together a number of existing programmes and initiatives for young people, but does not introduce any significant new ones. The strategy is generally positive about the role and impact of youth work and reiterates a commitment to identifying the positive impact of youth work, including through the Centre for Youth Impact’s creation of a shared impact measurement framework for the youth sector.

The Government reiterates that, despite funding pressures, local authorities retain primary responsibility for local youth services. There is a commitment to review guidance to local authorities on what is expected of them in this area, but no commitment to structurally change or reassess how youth provision is currently delivered.

There are a number of commitments to improving young people’s voice in decisions that affect them, including a new Civil Society Youth Steering Group, a new national Young Commissioners and Inspectors Group, and new systems for input into policy development.


Consultations

We responded to the Commons Home Affairs Committee’s Serious Violence Inquiry, which closed on 16th August. The committee, which has Parliamentary oversight of the Home Office, was looking for evidence of the effectiveness of the Government’s approach to serious violence and the Serious Violence Strategy.

In our response, we have taken the position that effectively tackling youth violence should be one of the highest public policy priorities for the United Kingdom and definitely for London. We welcome much of the Government’s strategy, but do not consider it to deliver the change required. We consider that this will require a fundamentally different approach that brings together all relevant stakeholders – including the Government, devolved administrations, local authorities, the police, health authorities, the voluntary sector, local communities, and young people themselves – to effect real change. This systemic change should be informed by a public health model, focus on early intervention, and commit to sustained multi-agency collaboration on addressing youth violence and its root causes. You can find London Youth’s full response here.

Over the coming months, London Youth will be responding to two consultations:


Updates

The Local Government Association (LGA) called for the NCS’s funding (£650 million between 2014/15 and 2017/18) to be reallocated to local youth services. The LGA argues that NCS is a good programme, but year-round youth provision should be a higher priority. The LGA have been running the Bright Futures campaign since May, asking for the £3 billion shortfall in funding for local authority children and young people’s services to be plugged. While national spending on children’s services was £368 million higher this year than last, 63% of local authorities are delivering services that have been rated as inadequate or requiring improvement.

According to the NHS, twice as many young women and girls are self-harming as 20 years ago.

The Mayor of London has published an interactive map of all activities available to young Londoners over the summer.

The Local Trust has published Strong Resourceful Communities: The case for a Community Wealth Fund. The report calls for the £1 billion of dormant accounts funds that are currently being distributed as programmatic grants to be invested into a community wealth fund. This fund would provide strategic, long-term funding to the voluntary sector.

The Mayor has invested £82 million in skills training through the Skills for Londoners Capital Fund.

A new unit with £2 million of funding has been set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to tackle exploitation of vulnerable young people.

The Ministry of Justice published A Sporting Chance: An Independent Review of Sport in Youth and Adult Prisons. The report demonstrates the power of sport in transforming lives of young offenders and the effectiveness of community partnerships to develop sport and physical activity in custody.

Families surviving on the National Living Wage will fail to meet their basic needs, according to the Child Poverty Action Group.


Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or to get involved in our upcoming consultation responses.

Samuel Howell, Policy Officer