You will find below a challenge to youth workers and management thrown down by Bernard Davies. It first appeared in a shorter version on the pages of Children and Young People Now at
As youth workers struggle with their target-driven ‘agendas’, they can take heart from the gathering backlash against the New Labour ‘project’ for public services– and the high powered names it is attracting. Over a year ago Sir Brian McMaster, in sub-titling his report on excellence in the arts ‘From Measurement to Judgment’, pointed to a need to ‘move away from “top-down” targets’. More recently, BBC Reith lecturer Michael Sandel concluded that the era of ‘market triumphalism‘ now ended was far too dependent on a ‘market-mimicking calculus’ whose assumptions were ‘no better than a hunch’.
In response I mused: It will come as no surprise that I endorse Bernard’s succinct summing up of the contradictions now faced by youth workers and their management. What is now more interesting than further analysis from such as myself is the continuing and overwhelming silence of those within youth work still wedded to the target culture. Who is willing from within the ranks of the Youth Work bureaucracy to step forward and defend the selling of its soul to the ideology of the market?
Comments and criticisms of Bernard’s piece warmly welcomed.