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The participation of children and young people in the work of Milton Keynes local authority and its partners A one day course devised with young people,

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Presentation on theme: "The participation of children and young people in the work of Milton Keynes local authority and its partners A one day course devised with young people,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The participation of children and young people in the work of Milton Keynes local authority and its partners A one day course devised with young people, staff and Bill A short report We are Amber, Brandyn and Bill 10 February, 2010

2 The aims of the day are Thinking about the importance of listening and responding to children and young people Exploring our own values and attitudes Considering the legal and policy context Learning from a range of approaches and case studies Developing a personal action plan and organisational priorities

3 The plan Welcomes and introductions
Participation - what’s it all about? Participation – why bother? Participation – how does it work best? Evaluation and next steps

4 What’s in the resources pack
Resources for the day: outline, worksheets, postcard, Charter Involving children and young people - an introduction Available at: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

5 We suggest these as ground rules to sign up to
Respect each other Phone - if on, then have it on vibrate Have an open mind Speak to others about what you learnt but not about other people’s business Engage your brain before your mouth Enjoy yourself

6 Participation: what’s it all about?
What’s it mean to us? Take a stand! What’s your view on 4 tough statements? The great debate: does participation matter? So what does it all mean for us? How can children and young people’s participation help in our daily jobs?

7 What’s it meant to us? Introduce yourselves and where you work
Tells us what it feels like for you personally when you are listened to and taken seriously Just some of the things mentioned included: Being valued, respected, understood, taken seriously, taken into account, frustrated and a sense of feeling worthless when not heard, empowering, powerful, a desire to repay the kindness when someone went well beyond the call of duty, feel included, importance of recognising the difference between hearing and listening

8 Take a stand! There are 4 faces around the room. Take a stand to show how much you agree or disagree with each statement. And we’ll then ask for some comments Children and young people know what’s best for them Things are getting much better for children and young people in Milton Keynes The services are doing their very best for children and young people in Milton Keynes “Unless services listen to children and young people, adults will never get it right!”

9 Take a stand So, broadly, children and young people often know what’s best for them, but it depends on age and what’s going on in their lives. Things are getting better for some, but for many things are tough and getting tougher. Some services are doing really well, but overall, many could be doing more for children and young people. And the services won’t get a lot better unless they involve children and young people more and take what they have to say seriously.

10 The great debate: does participation matter?
Join one of 4 groups and prepare some points to debate from the standpoint of what it says on your card. In order to help children and young people get the best possible start in life, their participation is: A waste of money Useful Vital We’ll now hear the debate from each point of view and take a vote at the end.

11 Some of the points in the debate included:
Waste of money: Childish behaviour and immature They lack of experience; Adults know best It squanders money and nothing changes They are not consistent and are incapable They change their minds each day We chose to have the child; so as parents we have the right to speak for them They tell lies! Useful We have to do it in law We’re told to do it by Ofsted Services may improve Quality standards We’ll save money We can get good quotes We can tick the boxes Help us get money Looks good for the figures and feedback Vital Community cohesion You are judged by how you treat the most vulnerable in society Our positive response to children and young people changes how we see and respond to others in society It is crucial to their and our emotional wellbeing They are our future They are the source of innovation

12 So what does it all mean for us?
On the first flipchart, let’s write up all the stuff you do in your jobs. On the second flipchart, we’ll write down loads of words that help us describe what participation is about. In small groups, talk among yourselves about how the stuff on the second chart helps with the stuff on the first chart. How can and does children and young people’s participation help what you do in your daily work? We’ll now take a moment to feedback a bit from each group

13 Participation: why bother?
Because we need to: the rights quiz Because we have to: a bit about policy Because we want to: what’s changed through participation So what’s stopping us? barriers and opportunities

14 Because we need to: the rights quiz
Form into two groups and agree on a team noise for your buzzer Just a warning: a quiz is a quick and powerful way to touch on many facts and figures about children and young people. But each fact an figure is about a real person. And you will know many of them. You can find the quiz and the notes to go with it at

15 Because we have to: a bit about policy
A moral and legal right to take part International law: Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child Domestic law: Children Act 1989, 2004, Education Act 2002… Citizens now Better results Sure Start, Children’s Centres, child protection, safer communities Better ways of working together Multi-agency teams Partnership working Inspections A commitment and history in Milton Keynes Commitment of Richmond Council: Charter, local examples, leader in the field The Government signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which makes clear in Article 12 the right of young people to be involved in decision that affect them. It is the foundation and vision for a participation culture that is being taken up across local authorities and their partners, as well as at national level. But it needs to go further as children and young people’s participation is not only a good thing in itself, but is crucial in realising their rights to protection and provision of effective services. Domestic law “Every Child Matters” endorses the central role children and young people themselves must play in the design, delivery and evaluation of services, in helping set standards and being part of inspection processes.

16 Children and young people fulfilling their potential
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Participation Article 12 Protection Provision Children and young people fulfilling their potential

17 Because we want to What’s changed in Milton Keynes through children and young people’s participation Here’s a pond. Each ripple represents change: Individually Group Community Around Milton Keynes Further afield Form small groups and share stories of change because of children and young people’s participation and then write on the post-its to show where the splash happened and how far the ripples went.

18 Some key messages Because we want to is a better motivation than because we need to or because we have to. Impact on individuals often has wider ripples into the group, community or area. Evidence of dialogue and change should include the voice of those who are meant to have benefited.

19 Ripples in the pond: some examples of change
School council: children and young people have a voice in planning activities. Youth participation helped one young woman build her own social skills, gained better understand of her mental health needs and helped the participation team Team Around the Child meeting was called by a young person directly, which impacted on them personally and on wider policy and procedures. Local amenities like the MUGA have been developed with young people’s participation. NGAGE project is child led, with them identifying identify targets and outcomes. Bus prices were to rise from 55 to 60p. After a meeting with young people, it was agreed to stagger the increase. “Still not good enough but we were listened to.” Youth cabinet: this is raising profile of politics Children’s charter in Milton Keynes is a shared commitment to participation School hours to reflect development of teenagers College is now accessible to some 14 year olds Youth service provision and tacking closures has involved young people in Youth 2 Youth

20 So what’s stopping us? barriers and opportunities
Here is a large brick wall we have made. Take at least three pink bricks and write a barrier to participation on each of them. The bottom is barriers caused by big bricks like government, media and society The middle is organisational bricks getting in the way The top bricks are our own personal barriers we put in the way Now take a brick from each section of the wall which are not yours, write a solution on the green one and stick both together and make an archway out of these!


22 Barriers and opportunities: just some of the points raised
Media – national press has a downer but relations with local press bear fruit with better relations and positive stories. Use of time and prioritising – always an issue and a challenge; it is also what we do and how we do it that can create space through effective and creative working, partnerships. Greater understanding of young people and what affects them will build trust and fight our fears. Organisational issues – we are part of the culture of organisations and in that respect we can and do have an influence. Use it. Be part of building a positive culture. Encourage reflective practice. Beware of our own agenda. Put aside personal perspectives and act as the advocate for young people rather than as gatekeeper Courage: build your confidence, draw on mentoring, alliances, conversations, sustaining relationships. Build in time for training and supervision Paperwork?! Challenge; devise things that work with those you work with, including children

23 Participation – how to move forward?
Some approaches to think about Salary review Chicken nuggets The MATRIX – mapping and exploring participation approaches

24 The MATRIX – mapping and exploring participation approaches
First we will explain how the Matrix works. Now, take the pink postits and write one example of listening and responding to children and young people on each and stick it up where it best fits on the matrix: What sort of approach was it? (along the top) How participative was it? (up or down the ladder) Now, do exactly the same thing with the green postits for approaches you would like to develop in your work. Stick them up on the wall as before. We now have a map of current approaches and a plan of future ones to develop. What does the matrix show us?

25 Mapping participation: being listened and responded to on the immediate personal things on the left; doing stuff with others in the middle; helping run things on the right. Build from left to right, from participative to representational democracy. There is a sound grouping of activity to build on.

26 Participation – how to move forward?
Personal practice to build on Speaking and listening Values alive: making our vision a reality Case studies Planning ahead

27 Speaking and listening
Form groups of 3 One person speaks to another and gives them up to 10 bits of information about them. The listener now tells the third person what the speaker said, remembering as many of the bits of information as possible. Now swap round twice more so that each person gets the chance to be in each role. Reflections: visual contact helped when giving information. There was pressure but also support in listening and then sharing that information. Hearing people sharing information about me can feel intimidating and I would want the information to be right.

28 Values alive: our charter
In small groups look at the Milton Keynes participation charter Jot down thoughts in answer to some of these questions: What do these core values mean to you? How do you put them into practice? What blocks this? What can be done by you and by others to help overcome the blockages? What would this area or organisation look like if these values were fully realised?

29 Values alive: our charter
Some reflections from small groups included: What do these core values mean to you? They are important and we don’t dispute them. Some are more relevant than others. The difficulty is the gap between vision and reality and how they work out in day to day contacts and relationships – especially with scarce resources. How do you put them into practice? Some are hard to put into practice and relate to level of service provision and staffing. (“You have a right to have a say – in the time available!”) There can also be tensions between different voices and needs among family members for example. Is it that the loudest are those who are heard at others expense? What blocks this? Time to develop trust; pressure to take part with us because of fear of not doing so; young people’s negative experiences of talking to professionals; judgementalism – receiving a services means losing entitlements to dignity and respect. What can be done by you and by others to help overcome the blockages? Young people’s activism is key as a role model and example of effective collective action. What would this area or organisation look like if these values were fully realised? This would be about what everybody does: our community, our journey; it is our shared experience

30 Case studies: learning from practice
Here are a range of practice situations and case studies. Gather round one that interests you and explore these questions What are the strengths and weaknesses of the way that children and young people are involved in this example? What are the implications for your work? What opportunities for further learning and action does this case study offer you?

31 Increased participation
You can write your thoughts and use these 2 tools to help you gauge the nature of children and young people’s participation Increased participation

32 Some reflections on the case studies
1. Family group conference had good preparations, but perhaps not enough. They lacked strategies perhaps to respond when things were wobbly. Perhaps having key points in writing first would have help. It is important not to set the child up, to have a strong facilitator, to have a range of techniques available and to focus on achievable tasks. 2. Closure of youth club: a range of young people were consulted and there was a means to formalise thoughts through speaking with managers. But it is not clear that there had been an informed conversation about needs and outcomes and no sense that young people were part of the commissioning cycle. 3. Take Over day offered an experience to some chosen young people of authority and decision making, but it is not clear how far or how deep this went and what the learning was for the adults as well as the young people themselves. 4. Sex and relationships education arose as an adult-led response to their concern but then the young people took an active say in the development of the programme. It is usually desirable for the young people to be involved in the thinking and planning as early as possible to increase ownership and relevance. It would be worth in this example following up those who did not take part to discover why.

33 In the hot seat Some specific practice issues the team would like to explore Timescales in a specific piece of work to build relationships and trust Exploring and accessing different tools to gain the voice of the child Being mindful of siblings, especially when they are not in the room Being mindful of what is not being said Thinking about where to meet young people Reflecting on supporting the voice of the individual child in the context of the parents, carers and siblings.

34 Planning ahead Some organisational priorities
The 7S standards framework for organisational change in Hear by Right encourages action across each standard, building from shared values and style of leadership. Hear by Right can be found here:

35 Shared values (some thoughts added from other aspects of discussion in the day)
Review the charter and make it more accessible and as a working tool. Raise the profile of participation across services : it’s everybody’s business. Draw on and celebrate success stories. Style of leadership Be more accessible, visible and open. Come and talk to us. Help break down walls between us and anonymity. Experience and appreciate what we do and the challenges and conflicts we face. Staff and skills Consider staffing levels and the consequence of reduction on children and families. Be mindful of the consequences and poor outcomes when not covering vacancies or maternity leave quickly. Appreciate and build upon the generic and specialised range of skills staff have in responding to a wide range of ages and needs. Build on the excellent skills base that exists. Invest in mental health services and draw in the necessary skills within our teams. Systems Streamline paperwork and online forms Speed up decision making Review some of the ludicrous unintended consequences of ‘standardised’ computer programmes. – “it takes 40 clicks of the mouse to close a case.”

36 Planning ahead: some personal priorities
Take the action planning sheet On your own or in a small group of people you work with Decide on one priority you want to take forward and act on from today and write this in the middle of the circle Use the force field to think about what can help and what can hinder you Then use the planning grid to plot out the actions needed Take them with you and use them to take action

37 Promises on a post card Fill out name, work address and a promise of what you plan to do to increase children and young people’s participation in your work in the next 6 months We will send the card to you in a few weeks

38 The promises from participants included:
I promise to find out if young people have maintained the achievements and if not what I could have done to ensure they do. I am going to shadow the Children and Family practitioners and connect more with them. Be more aware of the initial voice of he child and to ‘listen’ to what they are saying and reflect this in my work with them. To continue doing what I am doing. I promise to ask young people and children their views not once but throughout. To use other strategies other than the 3 houses to capture the voice of the child or young person. To ensure that all the assessments I carry out include the voice of the child. Look back at 3 houses throughout the casework to ensure the child’s initial views are held throughout the plan of work. Invite Roz and Emma to a regular slot at the meeting. Ensure the induction pack reflects your voice and this is acknowledged in family plans.

39 What did you think of the day?
4 questions – on the bullseye chart How enjoyable was the day? How well did we all work together? How useful do you think the day will prove to be for you personally? How useful do you think the day will be for your team or organisation? AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION

40 From the flipchart: bullseye!
From the written feedback 4.6 meeting aims and objective 5 level of tutor knowledge 4.87 style of delivery 4.5 personal benefits for work Average: 4.74 Which parts were more useful? Planning ahead on the best way to support young people Having the young people doing the training Sticky wall matrix of different approaches Unpicking the values charter Different activities used to increase participation “A very good day – having young people present was brilliant. Thank you.”

41 Contacts and support

42 Thank you

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