Steve Drowley, from the Association's Secretariat, reports from attending Parliament for the 'The Interim Report of the Youth Violence Commission'
The interim report was published in the Gladstone Room, Committee room 14, at the Houses of Parliament on 18/7/18 by Vicky Foxcroft MP (Labour), Chair of the Commission, with also present Chuka Umunna MP (Labour), Chris Stephens MP (SNP), Norman Lamb MP (Lib Dem) and with the support (but not endorsement as he is a serving Govt minister) of Mark Field MP (Cons). The full report is expected in September when all the data from the 2000 young people surveyed and from the many contributing organisations and individuals has been fully evaluated.
I was delighted that recommendation 3 (of 6) is ‘Reforming youth services’ and the report clearly references documentation I had been able to provide with the invaluable input of a number of TAG/PALYCW colleagues. Vicky Foxcroft publicly acknowledged this which was very gratifying. Their recommendations under this heading include the establishment of a National Youth Policy Framework, overhaul of funding arrangements, and a greater role for faith groups. Chuka Umunna added a ringing endorsement of youth services which he said had been savaged by funding cuts and should have a statutory basis; youth workers should be regarded and valued on a par with teachers and be professionally qualified, including in voluntary organisations, to ensure good quality services.
The other 6 recommendations on reducing youth violence are likely to cover:
1) developing a national ‘public health model’
2) increasing the focus on early years intervention
3) fundamental reform of youth services
4) boosting support in schools
5) increasing employment opportunities
6) investment in community policing and review of drugs approach.
The accent was on evidence-based, long-term solutions - Vicky spoke of a 10, 15 or even 20 year strategy to bestride different parties and government terms. All the MPs present spoke strongly in support of the report and the ongoing challenge both to them and all others involved.
In questions I praised the Commission’s work on surveying so many young people who were targeted for their likely experience of youth violence but reminded them of the need to ensure the voice and active involvement of young people in whatever policy proposals and solutions are proposed and adopted. This was positively acknowledged. I also offered the ongoing support of the Association to the Commission’s work.
The interim report is available via this link: http://yvcommission.com/interim-report/