The chief executive of the National Youth Agency has dismissed
suggestions that there are too many targets in youth work and that
they could be even harder to achieve under children’s trust
Speaking at a youth work conference in London last week, Tom
Wylie said the targets for youth services were neither unreasonable
The 2002 document Transforming Youth Work: Resourcing
Excellent Youth Services states that youth services must reach
a quarter of 13- to 19-year-olds in their target population, and
that 60 per cent of these must undergo “personal and social
development which results in an accredited outcome”.
“There is an issue in the youth field about
targets,” Wylie said. “The position of people who hold
that view is that paying too much attention to things where you get
an accredited outcome such as a certificate gets in the way of
encounters with young people. My argument is that that is not the
case if it is proportionate – these kids might not have done well
in school and they might want a certificate.”
He added that there had even been a “bit of a shift away
from targets and towards outcomes” recently, particularly
with the Children Act’s focus on its five key outcomes.
Wylie insisted that, despite the long wait, publication of the
youth green paper was still essential to raise the profile of young
people’s services and ensure local and national agendas were
not skewed too heavily in favour of young children.
“We need a green paper which properly moves the agenda
from simply being about children to equally dealing with the
changing needs and vulnerabilities of adolescents,” he
It was also crucial for the new children’s trusts and
children’s services director posts emerging from the Children
Act to acknowledge their responsibilities towards older children
too by inserting young people into titles, he added.