The government’s consultation document on its
Children’s Strategy was launched this week.
Developed by the Children and Young People’s Unit (CYPU),
which was set up last year and also has responsibility for
administering the £450 million Children’s Fund, one of
its aims is to develop an overarching strategy for young people
that cuts across all government departments.
It will determine how the government spends its annual £40
billion on services for England’s 12 million young people
aged up to 19.
Each government department will be expected to submit an action
plan to the Children and Young People’s Unit by April of next
year, which outlines how it will increase youth participation.
The cross-cutting review of children at risk, led by the CYPU
and the Treasury will ensure that the vision and aims of the
strategy are embedded in all government spending priorities for
2002/3-2005/6, says the consultation document.
Launching it at the National Council for Voluntary Child Care
Organisations, Althea Efunshile, who is director of the Children
and Young People’s Unit, said: “The document proposes a
collective vision, not just in terms of indicators of GCSE
attainment. It sets up principles that should underpin all services
for young people.
A key part of the strategy proposes developing a set of
indicators that would measure outcome such as health and well-being
and achievement and enjoyment.
However, Efunshile added: “It is important that the strategy
does not set out childhood by performance indicator. It might sound
kitsch but it should be a vision for how childhood should be.”
But delegates raised concerns about a “culture of measurement”.
Efunshile argued that she was in favour of measurement, as there
was no other way to judge the effectiveness of services. “It is
scandalous if we have public money being poured into services that
make not a jot of difference,” she said.
As part of the three-month consultation, 25 workshops will be
held across England to get the views of young people and their
parents. Postcards are also being distributed to cinemas across the
country, asking children what single thing they would ask the prime
minister to change and why.
Organisations from the statutory and voluntary sectors will also
be consulted, including groups such as Save The Children, The
Children’s Society and the Black Training and Enterprise
Efunshile said: “The Children and Young People’s Unit
should come up with an annual report on how well we are doing.”
The final strategy will be published in the summer next
The consultation strategy can be viewed at www.cypu.gov.uk