Youth Select Committee To Be Set Up, Says Tim Loughton
Young people in England are to be given more say over national Government policies and council decisions which affect them, a minister has announced.
A new national scrutiny group and youth select committee will be set up to monitor government policy and advise on how to "youth-proof" it, said children's minister Tim Loughton.
And local councils will be urged to introduce youth mayors or youth inspectors to allow young people to audit local services and make proposals on how they can be made more "youth-friendly".
Four areas - Devon, Knowsley on Merseyside and the London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Haringey - are each to be given £40,000 to establish Youth Innovation Zones to develop creative approaches to youth services.
Announcing £320,000 to help businesses build links with young people in their area under the banner Positive for Youth, Mr Loughton said: "For too long young people in this country have had a raw deal.
"The vast majority are law-abiding, want to do well at school and are making a positive contribution to their communities. More youngsters volunteer than any other group in society. We must recognise their achievements.
"I want Positive for Youth to be a turning point in how we view and treat young people, and in how we think about youth services. In a tough economic climate, bringing in charities and businesses to help develop and provide youth services is the way forward."
David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people programme board, said: "Young people are a valued part of our community and councils want to help all young people to get the support they need to fulfil their potential and ambitions.
"Council funding has been cut by 28% over four years so finding alternative methods of delivering services is key to making sure there continues to be a high-quality offer to young people.
"Councils are already moving towards a mixed economy of local authority, voluntary and private sector organisations delivering services for young people. There is a real opportunity, born of necessity, to implement considerable service redesign over the coming years, although the front-loaded nature of cuts to council budgets makes this more challenging."