Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth & Policy is about to take a new, positive turn. We have copied below the editorial group’s explanation and hope to play our part in contributing to the journal’s continuing desire to be a critical and challenging voice.


Youth & Policy: The Journal of Critical Analysis was formed 35 years ago in 1982, to address a need for ‘a serious journal of analysis and review which focused its attention upon the whole area of youth policy’. The journal aimed – and continues to aim – to address itself not only to youth work, youth services and education, but also to the wider field of young people and how young people are impacted by (and how they have an impact on) policy. The journal has been highly influential in the field and valued by students, researchers, lecturers, practitioners and activists. Those who set it up, and those who have been involved throughout the last 35 years – editorial group members, reviewers, writers, proof-readers, and others – should be justly proud of what it has achieved. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed in any way. However, the time has come for a change. In recent years, Youth & Policy has faced a few challenges, including:

• A steep fall in the numbers of high quality articles submitted. We are always glad to see excellent articles from our valued, committed and regular writers and new contributors, but overall the numbers are falling, and this means we do not have enough quality articles to release the journal on a regular basis. There are a number of factors underlying this decline in quantity and quality. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and similar processes internationally tend to incentivise academics to submit to journals with high ‘impact factors’ – and while we know that an article in Youth and Policy has more likelihood of being read than one in most ostensibly ‘higher impact’ journals, readership does not count for a great deal. At the same time, academics’ and practitioners’ workloads are increasing exponentially, hence there is reduced time for any of us to write (or, for that matter, to peer review, edit and coordinate journals)! Sadly, it seems that many lecturers in the field of Youth Studies and Youth and Community Work are given negligible time – if any – for research and writing.

• A growing proportion of inappropriate and irrelevant articles are being submitted, which do not meet the remit of our journal and/or are not in any way ready for publication. Presumably this is also due to the ‘publish or perish’ culture. Often it feels as though we are receiving articles that have been rejected elsewhere and have not been adapted for our journal – we are not talking here about articles from the field, but irrelevant articles that do not address the aims of our journal and have often not been proof-read. It takes a great deal of (voluntary) time and energy to read through these submissions and provide helpful feedback.

• Technological challenges and workload pressures amongst some members of the editorial group have conspired to take the journal offline for periods and/or hold up the publication of some issues for an unacceptably long time. We realise that this may feed into the first challenge – the lack of quality submissions – but because the reduction in quality submissions predated our technological challenges, we feel that this is not the main factor.

We know that Youth and Policy continues to be valued, particularly by lecturers, researchers, students and (to some extent) practitioners in the field of youth and community work. We also aim to reach and contribute towards wider youth and policy related networks, beyond ‘youth work’ and its related practices, but it is less clear how successful we have been in regard to this aim in recent years. Overall, we have had a general feeling that Youth & Policy is not responsive enough (we know that we are too slow to publish time-relevant articles), is not reaching a wide enough audience, and is not attracting sufficient high quality submissions to sustain the publication of a journal that is produced regularly enough to contribute in a timely way to present policy debates. As REF-type procedures and heavy workloads are likely to continue to affect the quality and volume of articles received, we feel the time has come to make a change.

The way ahead
We have decided to move towards a more responsive format. The new Youth & Policy will continue to be free, open access and online, yet rather than having ‘issues’ we will instead publish individual articles, which can be published as soon as they have been prepared. Most of these articles will be much shorter – up to 2000 words in length. We are setting up a new website that will be easier for all of us on the editorial group to access and edit. We have now had all our ‘hard copy’ back issues scanned (a garagantuan task!) and will host these on the new website, alongside the full range of our existing electronic editions. We recognise that there will be some disadvantages to the new system, but we are confident that any that arise will be outweighed by the benefits. Needless to say, we will monitor and review the new format closely during the months following the launch. However, there are also clear advantages in terms of a much easier process, which will enable quicker publication. We believe that the new format will be easier for researchers, lecturers, students and practitioners to access and read, and hope that it will be read and shared more widely and attract more high quality contributions. We will still exercise a system of quality control, through a simplified and streamlined peer review process, and those academics who need to be able to say they are submitting to a peer reviewed journal will still be able to do so. We will occasionally invite longer journal-length articles, but these will be the exception rather than the norm.

We will continue to seek articles which provide a critical analysis of current policy issues affecting young people. We are keen to host original articles on a wide range of themes – education, employment, justice, health, identity, equality, youth services, media, campaigning, and many more. We hope existing contributors and new writers will be keen to contribute, so do look out for our guidelines for submissions. Our new format site will be up and running (at the same web address) within a few weeks of the publication of this final edition and we will launch the new format at an event in the autumn. We will also continue to organise conferences and seminars –note the advance date for our forthcoming ‘Youth Policy: Then and Now’ conference, March 9th– 10th 2018, which will draw together historical and present themes and research. We hope to see you all at these or other events in the near future.


Download Y&P 116 at

Youth and Policy: The final issue? Towards a new format

Youth Work and Informal Education: Finding common ground
Tony Jeffs

Beyond the Local Authority Youth Service: Could the state fund open access youth work – and if so, how? A speculative paper for critical discussion
Bernard Davies

Scientism, governance and evaluation: Challenging the ‘good science’ of the UK evaluation agenda for youth work
Deirdre Niamh Duffy

Extending democracy to young people: is it time for youth suffrage?
Kalbir Shukra

Youth and adult perspectives on representation in local child and youth councils in Ireland
Shirley Martin and Catherine Forde

What, no coaching? Challenging the dominance of mentoring in work with young people
Tina Salter

Effective gang policy and practice: how research with ‘Black male youth’ problematizes the official definition of the UK gang
Ian Joseph

Social work with children in the Youth Justice system – messages from practice
Jane Pye and Ian Paylor

Organised Crime, Street Gangs and County Lines
John Pitts

The American news media and youth: distortion, defamation, demographic fear
Mike Males

Finding a better way of protecting young workers
Jim McKechnie, Sandy Hobbs, Emma Littler and Amanda Simpson

Margaret Mead and the ‘Unknown Children’
Mike Males

Programme and Tickets for Co-Production Conference, Jan 21, Glasgow

Message from Paul Fenton:

Programme for ‘Co-production, Research and Youth and Community Work’ (21st January, 2017)


Booking now via this link

I am pleased to confirm the programme of presentations and workshops at our January research conference to be held at the University of Glasgow on Saturday 21st January 2017.

The Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work, in collaboration with CR&DALL and The Radical Community Work Journal invite you to an event that will explore the role of co-production and research in supporting youth work and community development; with selected papers to form a special issue of the Radical Community Work Journal.

The event is designed to be inclusive of colleagues undertaking postgraduate study, early career researchers as well as established academics. We welcome participants from across disciplines with an interest in youth work and community development as day conference delegates and presenters.

You can access a full copy of the programme via this link, with details also provided on the Eventbrite booking page.
Presentations and workshops include the following*:

Opening Presentation:
· ‘A story of co-production from practice participants’ Christina McMellon, Mary Mitchell & Practice Participants (Young Edinburgh Action)
Theme 1: Methodologies of Co-production
· ‘Co-Production, a welcome return to developmental process?’ Lesley Gornall (Sheffield Hallam University)
· ‘Evidence Informed or Evidence Based Practice: Which direction for Youth and Community Work?’ Emma Chivers (University of South Wales)
· ‘Developmental Work Research: a search for congruence.’ Jane Melvin (University of Brighton)
· ‘Narrative capital and co-constructive narrative methodologies’. Mark Price (University of Brighton)
Theme 2: Co-production with Communities
· ‘The 67 Centre and its history. Adam Muirhead and Sue Robertson’ (The Trust for Developing Communities)
· ‘The tensions of co-production within vulnerable communities.’ Ros Chiosso and Erika Laredo. (Leeds Beckett University)
Theme 3: Democratisation of Knowledge
· ‘Community, Collaboration and Consideration.’ Sarah McAdam and Christine Smith (The University of St Mark & St John)
· ‘Exploring Power: Democratisation of Knowledge through Co-production’. Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka. (University of Edinburgh)
Theme 4: Co-production with Young People
· ‘Sharing, making and learning together: co-production with digital art forms’. Frances Howard (University of Nottingham)
· ‘Blimey, its just like doing youth work again!’ Two university peer mentor projects of co-production. Melanie Gill (University of Brighton)
· ‘From production to exchange: Repairing co-production through research as a gift.’ James Duggan (Manchester Metropolitan University)
· ‘Designing the co-production of a strategic youth plan in a local government setting.’ Paula Rowe (Centre for Social Change, University of South Australia)
· ‘Reframing Loneliness: Co-production as a process of youth engagement’. Janet Batsleer (Manchester Metropolitan University)
· ‘Researching Professional Love with Child & Young People Services’ Practitioners. Martin Purcell (University of Huddersfield)

If you have any questions about the event then don’t hesitate to get in touch at

‘Co-production, Research and Youth and Community Work’


Invitation to: A January Research Day: ‘Co-production, Research and Youth and Community Work’
Saturday 21st January, 2017. University of Glasgow. Booking now via this link

The Professional Association of Lecturers in Youth and Community Work, in collaboration with CRADALL and The Radical Community Work Journal are collaborating in an event that will explore the role of co-production and research in supporting youth work and community development.

We are inviting presentations around four themes:

1. Co-production with young people.
2. Co-production with communities (communities of practice as well as geographical, cultural etc.)
3. Methodologies of co-production e.g. action research, developmental work research etc.
4. Democratisation of knowledge through the techniques of co-production.

The call for abstracts is for next Friday 9th December, 2016.

Follow this link to an abstract template and read more about the event via this link.

Best wishes

Paul Fenton PFHEA

Respecting Children and Young People Project


Respecting Children and Young People: Learning from the past, redesigning the future

We have received notice of this potentially significant initiative by the British Educational Research Association.

Dear colleagues,

This week marked the launch of the blog for the BERA Respecting Children and Young People project. The project is a joint initiative of 6 special interest groups within the British Educational Research Association who are together developing an alternative policy manifesto with equality and social justice for children and young people at its heart. You can read more about the project at:

Respecting Children and Young People

To start the thinking and discussion that will lead us to formulate policy recommendations we have commissioned a number of pieces of writing by members who are some of the leading educational researchers in the United Kingdom. These will be posted on our blog over the coming months. The first posts are from Geoff Whitty, Diane Reay, Terry Wrigley and Rachel Brooks.

Whether you’re a BERA member or not please take the time to stop by our blog, read, comment, and get involved in discussion. You might also consider writing a guest post? Or perhaps you work with practitioners or children/young people who are interested in sharing with us their research or experiences? Or you may be experienced with turning rigorous research into policy and would be prepared to act as critical friends, helping us to identify any oversights, give guidance on where we might find additional research to support the positions put forward, and also to help us refine the policy recommendations for our manifesto?

Please feel free to disseminate news of our blog and project widely amongst your networks.

With thanks,

Ruth Boyask (on behalf of the editorial team)


It would be great to have a youth work input into this project. We’ll certainly be thinking about doing so. The contacts for Youth and Informal Education are  Ian McGimpsey or Janet Batsleer

Guidance on writing a guest blog can be found at Contribute.