Youth Parliament lacks grassroots support

Youth workers could make or break the UK Youth Parliament,
according to a review into its effectiveness.

The UKYP was set up to give young people between 11 and 18 the
chance to influence national and local government. While it had
achieved “considerable success” during its three-year
existence, its future success or failure depended on grass-roots
support from youth workers and young people, says the review.

Youth workers give “invaluable support” to UKYP
members but the parliament’s weak links with youth
organisations are limiting its performance. According to the
report, carried out by the Office for Public Management for the
DfES, the UKYP does not live up to the expectations of many of its
stakeholders. Its structure was found to be too rigid and formal,
limiting its appeal to young people.

Despite having a good ethnic mix, the findings suggest that the
UKYP does not include enough people from a wide range of social and
educational backgrounds, and members were perceived as middle class
and well-educated. Many feel that, as a result, the UKYP
“should not claim to represent all young people”, the
report says.

None of the young people who took part in the research had heard
of the UKYP, and even once the concept had been explained, few
could imagine themselves being involved.


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