Youth Council – So What?
I’m not normally the biggest fan of Youth Councils as they seem to be a way of replicating the mistakes of "adult councils", but they do have their place. Equally, though, I don’t believe any council should set up a Youth Council and think that the job of youth engagement is done. Not only does the YC need to have a real role, but it should be recognised that it doesn’t cover all young people.
Covering off the first part of giving the YC a role, Cllr Mary Reid, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People at the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, reports on how she has proposed that the Kingston Youth Council becomes a "formal consultative committee" to the Council.
This sounds like a simple way to avoid merely paying lip service to involving young people in council decision making. To really make it work, of course, they need to be doing more than merely paying lip service to consultation in general and I’m sure a 3-star Council like Kingston does.
A Youth Council is one good way of giving young people a voice. We’re working on a project (Codename: Cllr Buddy) to help councillors keep in touch with young people through other means. I hope to post more about it soon.