IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUTH AND COMMUNITY STUDIES, BOLTON UNIVERSITY
ENGAGING CRITICALLY : A SERIES OF WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS
THREATENING YOUTH WORK : THE ILLUSION OF OUTCOMES
FRIDAY, JUNE 14 from 1.30 to 3.30 p.m.
UNIVERSITY OF BOLTON, DEANE CAMPUS, BL3 5AB
Over the coming period In Defence of Youth Work is committed to encouraging an open and pluralist debate about the state of youth work today. In our view there has been a conspicuous lack of collective discussion about the dramatic shifts in the landscape of work with young people. Given youth work’s claim to a reflective and self-critical tradition this is more than a touch ironic.
In the Open Letter, which launched our campaign over four years ago, we declared that “youth workers and managers have been coerced and cajoled into embracing the very antithesis of the Youth Work process: predictable and prescribed outcomes.” Little has changed. Indeed outcomes-led youth work seems to be the norm, a taken-for-granted fact of life. Earlier this year the National Youth Agency and the Local Government Association joined forces to promote A Framework of Outcomes for work with young people. Contradictorily though outcomes-based management and practice is coming under increasing fire across what we used to call public services – in areas such as health, social work, housing and even policing. Increasing evidence illustrates that an outcome-based approach distorts both process and relationships. Its primary objective is the collection of data. People come second.
In this context it is strange that youth work, which has prided itself on the building of relationships and the unfolding of process, should have embraced so uncritically the Outcomes agenda. In the seminar we will first encourage people to share their experiences of working to outcomes – good, bad and indifferent. Afterwards Tony Taylor, Coordinator of the Campaign and in a past life even a Chief Youth and Community Officer, will suggest that the pursuit of outcomes does not produce the ‘robust’ evidence of impact claimed. It is a self-fulfilling illusion, which threatens the survival of youth work as a distinctive young person-centred practice.
After which we should have a lively debate!
To book a place and/or obtain more information, contact Paula Connaughton at P.Connaughton@bolton.ac.uk
APOLOGIES YET AGAIN FOR THE CRUNCHED NATURE OF THIS POST!!
PLEASE CIRCULATE THE FLYER, The Illusion of Outcomes