Arguing and organising for a Statutory Youth Service continued

Article: Winning a Statutory Youth Service


Doug Nicholls reflects on the momentous Roundtable event which took place at the Palace of Westminster on 23rd April 2018. He posits that there are shifts towards a new Youth Service with support from key politicians, youth organisations and young people. Setting the political and economic context, Nicholls suggests how a new youth service if both needed and affordable.




6 June at 10:00–14:00 at Portcullis House (The MacMillan Room), SW1A 2JR London


June 6th is an important day for the future of youth work and youth services.

On that day Lloyd Russell Moyle will speak to a Bill in Parliament seeking to introduce a statutory youth service to enhance open access provision and secure resourcing for our essential work.

It is vital that young people and youth workers are in Parliament on that day to meet their MPs.

We, therefore, ask you to consider coming to Parliament where we have booked a large room in Portcullis House (The MacMillan Room).

The idea is to invite your MP to meet you there at a specific time between 10.00-14.00pm.

If you are not able to meet your MP for any reason please consider coming along yourself and supporting the day and keep the great momentum going and meet people from all over the country.

Because of Parliamentary security and access arrangements, you will need to sign up for this event. Once you have done this then we will be in touch to find out the times of your arrival and departure on the day.

This could be a day that really changes things just before the All Party Parliamentary Group enquiry into the youth service over the summer so please get in touch with your MPs as soon as possible.



Towards a Statutory Youth Service – Chooseyouth Action Points



Thanks to Anam Hoque


Further to Monday’s packed and animated Roundtable event held in the Houses of Parliament Doug Nicholls, Chair of Chooseyouth, has written as follows:


Just a big thank you to all those who were able to attend the Chooseyouth event in Parliament on Monday. Thanks also to those who were with us in spirit but unable to attend.

We are going to have to be focused and organised over the coming year to win. We will send out some briefings to assist with campaigning.



Ta to Sue Atkins for the montage


In the meantime here are the action points we suggested at the meeting that would really help.

1. Declare your individual and or organisational support for Chooseyouth if you have not already done so by writing simply to Kerry Jenkins at It doesn’t cost anything and your name will simply be listed as a supporter.

2. As soon as you can write to your MP whoever they are and ask them if they support a statutory Youth Service. Let Chooseyouth know what they say.

3 In May write to your MP and ask them if they will be supporting the Ten Minute Bill on the Youth Service.

4 Immediately write to Angela Raynor MP requesting that the Youth Service be made statutory and put within the National Education Service that Labour is proposing.

5 Get ready to lobby your MP again and get busy on Social Media when the Ten Minute Rule Bill is put on June 6th by Lloyd Russell Moyle MP.

6 Write immediately to Cat Smith MP who is consulting on the implementation of a statutory youth service, saying you support a statutory youth service and giving any reasons why and what it might look like.

All of this will make a difference at this critical time.

Thanks very much.

Doug Nicholls,

General Secretary,

General Federation of Trade Unions.



This is the first notice of the forthcoming ChooseYouth event announced at the IDYW conference on March 9.

choose youth logo



Mon 23 April 2018 16:00 – 18:00 BST


Palace of Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA


Following the successful parliamentary event earlier this year, we are pleased to announce a roundtable discussion on the importance of youth services and creation of a statutory youth service.

Youth services are an essential part of a lifelong learning and civil society and act as the bedrock of many young peoples lives. Over recent years we’ve seen youth service provision decline across the country with parts going completely without.

ChooseYouth which represents over 30 voluntary youth sector organisations has long championed a universal, open access statutory youth service and now in partnership with MP’s in parliament we plan to introduce a bill to create such a service.

This roundtable event in parliament will act as the beginning of that legislative process, bringing together key stakeholders to give their input, not only on the current state of youth services but how best we can advance the cause of a statutory service.


Rebuilding the Youth Service from the ruins : ChooseYouth to intensify its campaigning work

Ta to

Ta to

Doug Nicholls, Chair of the ChooseYouth coalition has forwarded the following statement of intent and purpose, which we would encourage people to circulate and discuss.

choose youth logo

“ChooseYouth, a coalition of 35 national organisations campaigning for youth work and the Youth Service has had two emergency national meetings recently to plan to rebuild the Youth Service from the ruins. It believes that the plan for votes at 16, for voter registration of young people and investment in quality youth work go hand in hand and public investment will have to be found to fund this.


The Youth Service prior to 2009 was funded under a direct government funding line to local authorities. All of them underspent the government’s recommended spending figures. The expenditure figures were collected by the National Youth Agency. Cuts to the NYA’s own funding meant that this annual auditing function was lost. Government funding to local authorities then changed to include the previous youth service funding line under one new block grant for ‘early years intervention.’ Youth Services were then merged into Youth Support Services seeking to integrate a range of specialism largely under a crisis management social work model as poverty, unemployment, family breakdown, inter youth violence and so on created a new generation of young people in difficulties. Problems got worse and worse for children and young people and targeting the most vulnerable became impossible on the reduced funds available. The move to targeted services and away from universal, open access provision only made matters worse.


The historic role of youth work as an educational service offering personal and social development to young people outside school and work and offering an entirely unique space for young people to grow and develop and for preventative work to be undertaken was lost. Then the real assault started. We did not face cuts but an ideologically driven break up of youth work and the youth service. No one can accurately assess the damage because it has been so severe. However, it is undisputed that the Youth Service in England is the first public service to actually disappear.


Fantastic youth work exists in isolated fragments. The architecture of the post war settlement of local authorities working in partnership with the voluntary sector to provide professionally qualified workers and supported volunteers to work with and for young people to expand their horizons and develop citizenship and collective responsibility has gone. No local authority in England has a Youth Service left. Thousands of youth centres have closed. In fact Cameron’s government has closed far more youth centres than the MacMillan government built. Some young people have committed suicide as result of the withdrawal of these services.


So the Youth Service has not faced austerity, it has experienced ruin. The ChooseYouth campaign is undeterred by this shock tactic of destruction over the last four years when the world’s first and most admired Youth Service has disappeared. The one service that young people built in the public sector for themselves with skilled advice to offer comfort, support, informal learning, guidance, adventure, fun and social involvement was attacked as youth unemployment rose, mental health issues for young men increased, youth on youth violence escalated, rioting hit the streets and higher education was made unaffordable to many.


Society cannot continue along this path and despite the recent autumn statement which announced effectively of a doubling of public sector cuts ChooseYouth will intensify its campaigning work. Conditions for young people and their educational opportunities have to be publicly funded. This is why we are calling for votes at sixteen a massive campaign of voter registration for 18 year olds and a rebuilt, publicly funded youth service staffed by professionally qualified JNC youth workers with their job title protected in statute. Such workers will support civic engagement and enable young people to lead a renewed sense of commitment to a social and economic future that values our young people first and foremost.”



Choose Youth launch petition to 'Protect Services for Young People'

We’ve just received the following notice from Kerry Jenkins, secretary of the alliance, Choose Youth, of which we are a member.


Only today, Cheshire West and Chester Council announced that they are to outsource their youth services. Yet another casualty of this government’s austerity programme.


We have just started the petition “Protect Services for Young People” and hope you will both add your name to it and also promote it widely. The more support we can get behind it, the better chance we have of it succeeding so it will need us all to really make a huge push to get people to sign up.


You can read more and sign the petition here:
 There are easy ways of sharing the petition with others – all you need to do is forward this email or share the link on Facebook or Twitter:
Many thanks


Whilst we could do with discussing more the issue of the Labour Party and whether its own track record gives any recent indication that it ‘gets’ youth work, this initiative deserves our support.  The petition is addressed to Ed Miliband and premised on the implication that Labour is committed to a statutory youth service. We would encourage supporters to sign and distribute as widely as possible.