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:
1The participation of children and young people in the work of Milton Keynes local authority and its partnersA one day course devised with young people, staff and BillA short reportWe are Amber, Brandyn and Bill10 February, 2010
2The aims of the day areThinking about the importance of listening and responding to children and young peopleExploring our own values and attitudesConsidering the legal and policy contextLearning from a range of approaches and case studiesDeveloping a personal action plan and organisational priorities
3The plan Welcomes and introductions Participation - what’s it all about?Participation – why bother?Participation – how does it work best?Evaluation and next steps
4What’s in the resources pack Resources for the day: outline, worksheets, postcard, CharterInvolving children and young people - an introductionAvailable at:UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
5We suggest these as ground rules to sign up to Respect each otherPhone - if on, then have it on vibrateHave an open mindSpeak to others about what you learnt but not about other people’s businessEngage your brain before your mouthEnjoy yourself
6Participation: 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?
7What’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 seriouslyJust 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
8Take 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 commentsChildren and young people know what’s best for themThings are getting much better for children and young people in Milton KeynesThe 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!”
9Take a standSo, 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.
10The 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 moneyUsefulVitalWe’ll now hear the debate from each point of view and take a vote at the end.
11Some of the points in the debate included: Waste of money:Childish behaviour and immatureThey lack of experience; Adults know bestIt squanders money and nothing changesThey are not consistent and are incapableThey change their minds each dayWe chose to have the child; so as parents we have the right to speak for themThey tell lies!UsefulWe have to do it in lawWe’re told to do it by OfstedServices may improveQuality standardsWe’ll save moneyWe can get good quotesWe can tick the boxesHelp us get moneyLooks good for the figures and feedbackVitalCommunity cohesionYou are judged by how you treat the most vulnerable in societyOur positive response to children and young people changes how we see and respond to others in societyIt is crucial to their and our emotional wellbeingThey are our futureThey are the source of innovation
12So 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
13Participation: why bother? Because we need to: the rights quizBecause we have to: a bit about policyBecause we want to: what’s changed through participationSo what’s stopping us? barriers and opportunities
14Because 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
15Because we have to: a bit about policy A moral and legal right to take partInternational law: Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the ChildDomestic law: Children Act 1989, 2004, Education Act 2002…Citizens nowBetter resultsSure Start, Children’s Centres, child protection, safer communitiesBetter ways of working togetherMulti-agency teamsPartnership workingInspectionsA commitment and history in Milton KeynesCommitment of Richmond Council: Charter, local examples, leader in the fieldThe 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.
16Children and young people fulfilling their potential UN Convention on the Rights of the ChildParticipationArticle 12ProtectionProvisionChildren and young peoplefulfilling their potential
17Because we want toWhat’s changed in Milton Keynes through children and young people’s participationHere’s a pond. Each ripple represents change:IndividuallyGroupCommunityAround Milton KeynesFurther afieldForm 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.
18Some key messagesBecause 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.
19Ripples 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 teamTeam 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 politicsChildren’s charter in Milton Keynes is a shared commitment to participationSchool hours to reflect development of teenagersCollege is now accessible to some 14 year oldsYouth service provision and tacking closures has involved young people in Youth 2 Youth
20So 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 societyThe middle is organisational bricks getting in the wayThe top bricks are our own personal barriers we put in the wayNow 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!
22Barriers 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 gatekeeperCourage: build your confidence, draw on mentoring, alliances, conversations, sustaining relationships.Build in time for training and supervisionPaperwork?! Challenge; devise things that work with those you work with, including children
23Participation – how to move forward? Some approaches to think aboutSalary reviewChicken nuggetsThe MATRIX – mapping and exploring participation approaches
24The 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?
25Mapping 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.
26Participation – how to move forward? Personal practice to build onSpeaking and listeningValues alive: making our vision a realityCase studiesPlanning ahead
27Speaking and listening Form groups of 3One 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.
28Values alive: our charter In small groups look at the Milton Keynes participation charterJot 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?
29Values 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
30Case studies: learning from practice Here are a range of practice situations and case studies. Gather round one that interests you and explore these questionsWhat 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?
31Increased participation You can write your thoughts and use these 2 tools to help you gauge the nature of children and young people’s participationIncreased participation
32Some 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.
33In the hot seatSome specific practice issues the team would like to exploreTimescales in a specific piece of work to build relationships and trustExploring and accessing different tools to gain the voice of the childBeing mindful of siblings, especially when they are not in the roomBeing mindful of what is not being saidThinking about where to meet young peopleReflecting on supporting the voice of the individual child in the context of the parents, carers and siblings.
34Planning 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:
35Shared 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 leadershipBe 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 skillsConsider 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.SystemsStreamline paperwork and online formsSpeed up decision makingReview some of the ludicrous unintended consequences of ‘standardised’ computer programmes. – “it takes 40 clicks of the mouse to close a case.”
36Planning ahead: some personal priorities Take the action planning sheetOn your own or in a small group of people you work withDecide on one priority you want to take forward and act on from today and write this in the middle of the circleUse the force field to think about what can help and what can hinder youThen use the planning grid to plot out the actions neededTake them with you and use them to take action
37Promises on a post cardFill 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 monthsWe will send the card to you in a few weeks
38The 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.
39What did you think of the day? 4 questions – on the bullseye chartHow 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
40From the flipchart: bullseye! From the written feedback4.6 meeting aims and objective5 level of tutor knowledge4.87 style of delivery4.5 personal benefits for workAverage: 4.74Which parts were more useful?Planning ahead on the best way to support young peopleHaving the young people doing the trainingSticky wall matrix of different approachesUnpicking the values charterDifferent activities used to increase participation“A very good day – having young people present was brilliant. Thank you.”
41Contacts and support Roz.Mascarenhas@Milton-keynes.gov.uk