Back in November 2016, at the Ambition conference, Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, closed his self-congratulatory speech with the following announcement.
” There is so much to look forward to in this sector. Indeed, I’m delighted to announce that over the coming months we’ll be developing a new youth policy statement. This statement will bring together a clear narrative and vision for how we best help our young people.
It will highlight the opportunities that come with our move to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – how we can use our new position to give young people a greater engagement with our sporting and cultural heritage.
We want to benefit from your insights and wisdom. This new statement should draw on your experiences and celebrate the innovative work that is already happening.
I’m keen for it to act as a road map until at least 2020 and to show where this Government is heading with youth policy so you can see where to work with us along the way.
More than anything I want the statement to be a commitment to every young person. That we will help them pursue their passions, lead happy, independent lives and feel an active, engaged and valued part of their communities.”
For the moment we will leave to one side the gulf between the rhetoric of the last paragraph and the precarious reality facing so many young people and report our limited understanding of what’s going on re yet another ‘new’ policy statement. The best I can glean goes as follows:
According to Ambition, alongside sector colleagues, they have been working with the Youth Policy team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to ensure a wide range of organisations and partners feed into the call for evidence to help inform the youth policy statement.
- As is often the case a degree of mystery surrounds the identity of the youth organisations ushered into the corridors of power at the DCMS. Clarification would be welcomed.
- As far as the consultation goes the DCMS are holding several regional workshops ‘aiming to engage groups of stakeholders that are representative of organisations involved in designing, delivering and funding youth provision’. One snag might be being recognised as a stakeholder. The events are invitation only.
- There is to be an online call for evidence from folk not holding big enough a stake, who can run their own workshops, armed with a facilitator’s brief from the DCMS.
- The ‘eagerly awaited’ policy statement will target six themes: a shared understanding of young people’s personal and social development; evidencing the impact of work with young people; developing a coherent local youth offer; making youth social action a habit for life; involving young people in decision-making; and securing an independent and sustainable youth sector.
- There’ll be no additional dosh as the state-subsidised, less than independent National Citizen Service has to pay for its adverts and mailshots, whilst missing its targets.
More informed and knowledgeable comments welcomed. And I was going to have an alcohol-free day.