Improve Your Council Sir Bill Taylor

Newsletter Signup

Youth Work Issues

The Youth & Community Service in the Future

As Bob Dylan wrote & sang

Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The recent road has a clear route:- Compulsory Competitive Tendering, Best Value, Raising Achievement, Crime & Disorder, Safer, now Safer Stronger (Greener) Communities, Tackling Drugs Together, Neighbourhood Renewal, Policy Action Teams, Building Better Communities, Social Exclusion/Inclusion/Cohesion, Connexions, YOTs, ABCs, ASBOs, Reducing Teenage Pregnancy, Beacons, BVPIs, CPAs, OfStEd, LSPs & LAAs. Had enough?

Laming & Bichard (post tragedies), Egan (Skills), Gershon (VFM in local govt.) & Lyons (local govt. location, funding & now purpose).

14-19 Implementation Plan, Transforming Youth Work, Resourcing Excellent Youth Services (REYS), Youth Green & White Papers, Connexions, work force re-modelling, Respect & other emerging agendas, Building Schools for the Future, Extended Schools, Every Child Matters, Childrens Trusts, LEA transformed into Children & Young People Services (Integrated, Targeted & Universal), Children and Young Peoples Plan, Common Assessment Frameworks, a Youth Offer, JARs.

We work on a crowded & chaotic landscape. Massive change has happened. But the speed & nature of change in front of us is about to hot up. BIG style!

More local government re-organisation? Greater hostility/scrutiny of the public sector? More commissioning? Restructuring for us, Councils, schools, the Police, health?

Thank Goodness we can't stop trading whilst this is all going on. It makes you feel that working with young people's going to be the easy bit for a while!

REYS brought us:-

About REYS and Youth Service Benchmarks

The guidance was produced in discussion with DfES and is intended to clarify some of the benchmarks identified in 'Resourcing Excellent Youth Services' (REYS).

The benchmarks are:

  • Reach/contact - The benchmark is 25% 'reach' by youth services into the target 13-19 population (to reflect cultural diversity of the community).
  • Participation - The benchmark for participation of the 13-19 population is 15%.
  • Recorded outcomes- The benchmark is for 60% of participants to gain a recorded outcome
  • Accredited outcomes -The benchmark is for 30% of participants to gain an accredited outcome

These are only some of the benchmarks or standards identified within REYS but have been the subject of considerable debate and levels of concern for some services.

The push towards recognition of achievement through recording outcomes and accredited learning has been proven to raise standards within NSF and other  programmes.  Work to meet these performance indicators will fit well with the raft of government thinking around extended schools, 14-19 curriculum reform and the move towards integrated provision for young people that was heralded in 'Every Child Matters'. 

There will be a collection of data nationwide - co-ordinated by The NYA - to gauge progress and highlight issues. At this stage the guidance is seen as a 'work in progress' and will be reviewed with a view to fine-tuning and sharing practice following the early data collection. 

From April '05 the benchmark data will form part of the information collected in the annual youth service audit.

 Every Child Matters brings many things:-


 A Common Assessment Framework


The CAF is a key component in the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme.  The aim of the programme is to ensure that every child receives the universal services to which they are entitled and any additional services they need at the earliest opportunity. 

 What is the CAF?

  • a simple pre-assessment checklist to help practitioners identify children who would benefit from a common assessment;
  • a process for undertaking a common assessment, to help practitioners gather and understand information about the needs and strengths of the child, based on discussions with the child, their family and other practitioners as appropriate;
  • a standard form to help practitioners record, and, where appropriate, share with others, the findings from the assessment in terms that are helpful in working with the family to find a response to unmet needs.

 CAF elements and domains

The CAF has been developed from combining the underlying model of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families with the main factors used in other assessment frameworks.  The elements that form the framework for common assessment are shown in the figure below.  They have been grouped into the themes of development of the child, parents and carers and family and environmental elements.

Development of Child

  • Health:
  • General health
  •  Physical development
  • Speech, language and communications development
  • Emotional and social development
  • Behavioural development
  • Identity, including self-esteem, self-image and social presentation
  • Family and social relationships
  • Self-care skills and independence
  • Learning:
  • Understanding, reasoning and problem solving
  •  Progress and achievement in learning
  •  Participation in learning, education and employment
  •  Aspirations

Parents and Carers

  • Basic care, ensuring safety and protection
  • Emotional warmth and stability
  • Guidance, boundaries and stimulation
  • Family and Environmental
  • Family history, functioning and well-being
  • Wider family
  • Housing, employment and financial considerations
  • Social & community factors and resources, including education

 To find out more about what Youth Matters includes:-


 Change immediately with us:-

 ECM - 5 Strands.

We should have:-

  • New Aim & Objectives.
  • New Principles.
  • New role, functions & structure.
  • What the new Youth Offer will mean. (How & who will deliver it).
  • New key PIs.

This all offers new, challenging & exciting opportunities. For us individually & as a Service but most of all for our key target client priority group young people aged 13  - 19.

We are well placed to accept the challenge & opportunity of all this. Young people should benefit from these innovations & improvements.

To read the Unicef Report on UK young people:-

A great link for global dimensions in our curriculum is:-

A new information & research service from the NYA:-

What makes for a good youth word session check list:- Download Here