06 August 2018

Welcome to the first of our new monthly updates on the policy context for London Youth’s members and the youth sector more broadly.


Politics

July was a busy month, but now Parliament is in recess until 5th September and party conferences will be taking place from end of Sept.

The largest announcement for the sector was Labour’s concrete commitment to build a statutory youth service. London Youth supports the principle of a statutory commitment, which would ensure a legal duty for youth provision across the country, but we are waiting to see more details of the policy following consultation. You can find more information about the policy and contribute to our response here.

High-profile Cabinet resignations saw Matt Hancock MP become the new Health Secretary. He was replaced at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport by Jeremy Wright MP, the former Attorney General. This follows the ministerial changes at the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in April. If you are also having trouble remembering who’s running what, the full list of ministers can be found here.

Looking slightly further ahead, the Conservative Party have shortlisted their candidates for the 2020 Mayoral race to Andrew Boff AM, Cllr Joy Morrissey, and Shaun Bailey AM, a former youth worker.

The Mayor has called for the stamp duty to be devolved from central government to fund affordable house building. It is worth noting that the £45 million behind the Young Londoners Fund came from newly-devolved business rates revenue and further devolution of taxes could give the Mayor greater powers to invest in London’s public services.

Consultations

We have made three submissions to consultations and inquiries over the last several months, encouraging our members to input in writing and via member consultation sessions we arranged:

We reponded to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG)’s Integrated Communities Strategy and made the case that community youth organisations are a vital part of creating strong and cohesive communities. We strongly believe that youth work delivers benefits not just for young people, but for the family, friends, and community around them. Community youth organisations should be supported and funded, sustainably and for the long-term, for this work.

The Mayor of London consulted on the new Culture for All Londoners Strategy, which seeks to expand the types of cultural activities on offer in London and ensure a broader range of people enjoy their benefits. In our response, we stated that culture has a huge impact on the quality of life of young Londoners, including improved mental and social wellbeing, strong and cohesive communities, and the possibility of meaningful economic and career opportunities. Young people deserve to be supported to be both active makers of culture, as well as accessing the cultural options that London offers. Culture provision should be supported in the places that young people choose to go. This should include community youth organisations, which play an important role in delivering cultural activities and encouraging outreach.

We responded to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Youth Affairs’ Youth Work Inquiry into the state of youth work today. We worked with seven YPFs (Young People’s Foundations) to provide evidence on some of the challenges facing community youth organisations, particularly from changes to funding over the last decade. Despite the expertise and professionalism of London’s youth workers, we do not believe that the youth sector in London currently has the resources and support that it needs to meaningfully address the challenges facing young Londoners. As well as our written response, we supported a young person from Dare London, London Youth’s youth advisory board, to give oral evidence to MPs at Parliament.

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

Relevant publications & updates

The Youth Violence Commission, a cross-party commission to examine the root causes of youth violence in England, Scotland, and Wales, have published their Interim Report. The commission’s approach has emphasised finding evidence-based and long-term solutions to the complex root causes of youth violence, for which there are no quick solutions. The commission recommends a commitment to meaningful and sustained collaboration across agencies and sectors. It also calls for developing a national Public Health Model, a focus on early years and early intervention, fundamental reform of youth services, boosting support in schools, increasing employment opportunities, and investment in community policing and review of drugs approach. The final report will be published in October 2018.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulator of health and adult social care in England, has published Are We Listening? A Review of Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services. We often hear concern from members about long waiting lists and inaccessible services, so we are pleased to see this being formally acknowledged. The review describes a fragmented system where young people and their families can’t rely on getting the quality care they deserve. They recommend that calls for a flexible approach with a more cohesive local offer, and greater prioritisation from central government (following the £1.2 billion commitment in Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision).

The Commons Education Committee has published Forgotten Children: Alternative Provision and the Scandal of Ever Increasing Exclusions summarising their work inquiry into alternative provision. The report notes the increase in exclusions, aided by the rise in ‘zero-tolerance’ behaviour policies and the incentives that schools operate under.

The Home Office have doubled the money available through the Early Intervention Fund to £22 million. This funding is part of the Serious Violence Strategy and is available to Police & Crime Commissioners to bid for on behalf of community groups to deliver violence prevention programmes.

NCS (National Citizen Service) has reported a £7.8 million underspend for last year due to lower than expected participation. This is part of a £315 million reduction in spending on civil society, which includes youth policy, by DCMS last year.

The Department of Health & Social Care (DoHSC) is increasingly looking at social prescribing models, with £4.5 million being announced by the Health Secretary.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) have announced the £7 million Integrated Communities Innovation Fund for creating stronger communities.

The Children’s Commissioner has issued the Stability Index 2018, an annual measure of the stability of the lives of children in care.


Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or if you would like to be involved in our upcoming consultations.

Samuel Howell, Policy Officer