Government sets out its ambitions for young people with new strategy

The government’s consultation document on its
children’s strategy was launched last week with the aim of
developing an overall strategy for young people that cuts across
all government departments.

Launching the report at the National Council
for Voluntary Child Care Organisations’ annual conference in
London, children and young people’s unit (CYPU) director Althea
Efunshile 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 outcomes such as health and

Efunshile added: “It is important that the
strategy does not set out childhood by performance indicator. It
should be a vision for how childhood should be.”

However, 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 a 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 and the Black Training and Enterprise Group.

The consultation paper was developed by the
CYPU, which has responsibility for administering the £450m
children’s fund.

The paper will determine how the government
spends its annual £40bn 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 unit by April, outlining 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 to 2005-6, says the consultation

The final strategy will be published in summer
2002. See

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