We welcome this initiative and will be seeking to be involved in the conversations. In trying to open up the debate about collaboration we are not sure that replaying the usual rhetoric about ‘leadership’ and ‘innovation’ is the best place to start. Any audit of the recent history of the youth work sector needs to begin with a serious appraisal of the impact of neo-liberal ideology upon the character and purpose of youth work – for example, its hostility to public services and indeed the Youth Service, its fixation on commissioning and outsourcing, its emphasis on time-limited programmes funded to achieve prescribed outcomes. We will see if this argument rings any bells.
Three leading youth organisations are calling for organisations working with young people to join discussions about closer working arrangements to improve outcomes for young people. UK membership organisations UK Youth, Ambition and the National Council of Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) have announced they are working together to lead a consultation around how best to ensure that young people continue to receive high quality services at a time of reduced funding for the sector.*
The discussions build on the success of recent joint activity and a close working relationship. With a combined heritage of 270 years, the organisations share a commitment to strengthening community organisations to provide improved opportunities for young people to develop and achieve.
Over the coming months, UK Youth, Ambition and NCVYS will engage with stakeholders from across the sector with a view to co-creating new, innovative ways of working that will transform the youth sector. Youth sector support organisations are invited to join the discussions through a variety of events:
• Ambition AGM 2 November in Manchester
• Ambition conference 3 November in Manchester
• NCVYS AGM 4 November in London
• UK Youth AGM 19 November in London
• Joint open invitation event 26 November in London
• St Georges House consultation 8/9 December in Windsor
Anna Smee, Chief Executive, UK Youth commented: “There is a clear need for leadership and innovative thinking in the sector to overcome the obstacles local authorities and charities face in sustaining services for young people. By acting together we can fast track the development and adoption of ideas and solutions that will deliver cost effective, high quality outcomes for young people.”
Helen Marshall, Chief Executive, Ambition commented: “We are excited to be working with NCVYS and UK Youth to strengthen the benefits we offer across our networks. I urge others to join us in looking at opportunities to collaborate to offer more for young people whilst making the best use of staff expertise and resources.”
Susanne Rauprich, Chief Executive, NCVYS commented: “Better collaboration is vital at a time where many youth organisations struggle to secure a future. We need to rethink the way we support youth organisations and youth services. I am excited to work with Ambition and UK Youth in leading the process.”