Improving Services for Young People ; The Illusion of Shared Ambitions?


Ta to lonerwolf
Ta to lonerwolf

The Campaigns arm of the British Youth Council is seeking young people’s involvement in the following survey:

Have your say and help make sure services are focused on the needs of children and young people. (Plus your chance to WIN £30 VOUCHER)

The Local Government Association have teamed up with the British Youth Council to ask young people to help them develop a set of ambitions that all organisations who work with young people should have for them.

Here is your link to the survey:

The Local government Association work with local councils across the UK to support, promote and improve local government (

The Local Government Association is working to ensure our public services are ‘rewired’ to ensure they are able to deliver top quality services. They want to ensure all organisations (public, private or voluntary sector) who work with children and young people hold ‘shared ambitions’ for children and young people. These ‘shared ambitions’ should help make sure services are focused on children and young people’s needs.


As is often the case the idea proposed – the sharing of ambitions – seems simply good and beyond reproach. The reality is that the Local Government Association [LGA] is actively promoting a particular ambition for both children and young people; that they should grow into ’emotionally resilient’ individuals as prescribed in the Young Foundation’s Framework of Outcomes for Young People. At the very least this ought to be a contested rather than a shared ambition. Tony Taylor’s critique of the Outcomes agenda notes  that the Foundation’s and indeed the LGA’s ideological ambition is clear.


The die is cast immediately. The product of the framework is to be the ’emotionally resilient’ young individual, who through the planned interventions of youth workers, will shrug their shoulders at adversity. Utterly in tune with government policy this manufactured individual will have less need for public services such as health and social welfare and will be willing to work for whatever wages, zero-hour contracts or indeed benefits are on offer. This is the self-centred compliant young person of neo-liberalism’s dreams. The last thing such an obedient cipher would do is to ask, “how come this is happening to me, my mates, to thousands of others?” Nowhere in the Framework is there an acknowledgement that to talk of personal change demands an engagement with the social and political circumstances underpinning young people’s lives.


Meanwhile of course young people should be encouraged to respond, alongside, if it fits, chatting collectively about what the survey is getting at. It would be interesting to unpack what quite is meant by ‘rewired’ public services!




  1. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content
    so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful
    lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe
    you could space it out better?

  2. Octavia – I do worry about such matters and I changed the blog appearance completely a few months ago. However I’m a volunteer, an amateur just doing my best,but I’ll keep on trying to improve. Cheers.

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