Plans to change information, advice and guidance services and to prescribe positive activities for young people have been questioned in responses to the youth green paper consultation, which closes this week.
National Youth Agency chief executive Tom Wylie said that, while much had been made of providing “places to go to”, there was too little focus on young people’s relationships. Similarly, while there was a heavy emphasis on providing information, advice and guidance (IAG), the importance of counselling for young people had not been addressed.
Carolyn Caldwell, executive director of the National Association of Connexions Partnerships, added that she was concerned over the intention to separate universal IAG from targeted support. “We know that ‘extra support’ services are often stigmatising for young people, many of whom need personal support to be able to use their IAG well,” she said.
Pam Hibbert, principal policy officer for Barnardo’s, echoed concerns about the green paper’s focus on “places to go”, claiming the vision was too structured, and that the provision of areas for unstructured leisure time was key to young people’s development.
A youth cabinet member of the Make Space campaign, run by children’s charity 4Children, added that forcing children to take part in “positive activities” would be like introducing a “restrictive regime”. The charity wants the government to provide more youth clubs.