Children and Young People's Learning Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Children and Young People's Learning Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Wednesday 10 January 2018
4:00 p.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor J Blyth, Councillor D Davison, Councillor L McGloin, Councillor J Sharrocks, Councillor M Storey, Councillor J A Walker, Councillor M Walters, Councillor J Young, Councillor V Walkington(As Substitute for Z Uddin), B Carr (Member of Youth Parliament)
B Bradshaw, K Dargue, J McNally
Apologies for absence:
Councillor G Purvis, Councillor Z Uddin
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Cllr Jeanette Walker Non Pecuniary Item 4
Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel held on 13 December 2017 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


The purpose of the meeting was for the Scrutiny Panel to hold a round table discussion with young people from the Linx Detached Youth Project in Hemlington to gather their views on Listening to the Voice of the Child.


Hemlington Linx Project aims to support young people in their personal, social, and educational development through access to and involvement in new opportunities and experiences.  Linx deliver open access youth work through building based provision and also Detached and Outreach Youth Work provision across Middlesbrough.

Linx also work with a number of various partner agencies in order to help young people and their families to achieve their full potential.


The young people present at the Scrutiny Panel meeting were employed as Apprentice Youth Workers at the Linx Project and had been provided with a list of questions detailed below prior to the meeting:


  1. Why do you think the child/young person's voice is important?
  2. Do children and young people in Middlesbrough feel listened to?
  3. What are the best ways of engaging children and young people?
  4. What happens when children and young people are not listened to?
  5. Do you believe your contributions are valued and acted upon effectively?

The following responses to the questions were received from the young people during discussions at the meeting:


Why do you think the child/young person's voice is important?


"You need to know the needs of a young person and what they would like from a service"


"Young people now know what younger children want now and it will help them going forward to plan services"


"It is a young person's life you have to listen to them"


"There is not much out there for young people"


Do children and young people in Middlesbrough feel listened to?


"How can you be listened to if you don't access something that gives you the opportunity to be listened to?"


"There are only certain children who get the chance to be listened to and that is only if they access a youth service"


"Not every young person accesses organisations, each young person has a different opinion if they do not access services who is going to ask them?"


"Even if a kid does voice their opinion they don't get listened to because they think you are only a kid"


"When I was younger I didn't know where to go to be listened to"


"I think young people don't speak or raise their voices if they don't see change, they feel it is a waste of time if they don't see changes happening.  If they see changes happening they will speak"


A Member asked the young people if there were enough forums for young people to feed their opinions into and to go where they felt listened to.  The young people felt there were limited forums for young people to feed in their opinions and that there should be more places for young people and children to go to where they would actually be listened to.  The young people felt that when forums were taking place they should be advertised more towards young people.


What are the best ways of engaging children and young people?


"Working as an apprentice with young people they engage with you because we are young and they connect with us.  It is easier for us to understand them"


"We engage young people in youth clubs, we always ask them what they want to do, we write down what they want to do, things like trips"


"In each youth club the young people set their own ground rules, we also do detached youth work on the streets"


"We get our message out using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, social media is what young people use - young people at Linx are looking at using social media to engage young people to get their views this is something the Council should look at"


"We also do detached youth work as well as we know not everyone uses social media and we follow up with young people after we meet them"


"An App could be developed to engage with young people or a video could be produced to show young people how they can be listened to"


The apprentices suggested that it would be beneficial to hold a conference in Middlesbrough for all youth groups to come together to advertise what they do and how young people could get involved.   The Director of Linx confirmed that they had funding available that could fund this conference.


A Member asked how the Council could get a better picture of what young people want from the Council and if they thought it would be useful to have a structure for young people to make direct decisions.  It was suggested that an open forum could be advertised on social media to encourage all young people to come forward with ideas on what the Council could do for young people.  The apprentices agreed that a voting system for young people aged under 18 would be an effective way to ensure that they would get a say on Council services.  The Member advised that in the past there had been an opportunities fund that the Government had set up where young people got the opportunity to decide where money could be specifically spent.  Members of Parliament and Councils were asked to get opinions from young people on services that would fit their needs.  It was advised that in Stockton this was used to build a young person's facility with dance studios and a recording studio because this is what young people had asked for.  The Member stated that in other areas of the country local Council's had a Youth Mayor who was elected and had a small budget for young people to provide what they think would be useful to them.  The apprentices agreed that a Youth Mayor would be beneficial to the young people of Middlesbrough and would give them the opportunity of ensuring that their voices were heard.


The Member of Youth Parliament advised that he is working on setting up a Youth Council in Middlesbrough.  The Youth Council would bring together young people who would be elected rather than chosen.  The voting system would ensure that that the views of the young people who had voted would be listened to and their voices fed up through various structures including the Council and Parliament through the Member of Youth Parliament.  The Voice of the Child Participation Co-ordinator advised that she would be supporting the Member of Youth Parliament in his work and also providing support to other youth groups in Middlesbrough.


A Member suggested that formalised training for leadership roles should be provided to young people which would allow them to be trained in talking to people, liaising with Council officials and would provide them with the leadership skills to lead on this agenda.   The Member of Youth Parliament advised that the British Youth Council delivered a 2 day Leadership Course, the course included how to interact with children and adults, how to ensure your views and voices were heard and how to feedback to people who made decisions.  It was suggested that a member of each youth group should attend this training.


What happens when children and young people are not listened to?


"They won't engage with services"


"They won't provide you with their views"


"The services you provide might not be the right one's"


"Young people won't get involved if they don't think you are listening to them"


Do you believe your contributions are valued and acted upon effectively?


"If young people see change and see it is beneficial to them, it will be like a ripple and they will see that you are listening to what they have got to say, if we don't see things happening we do not feel like our opinions are valued"


The Chair thanked the young people for taking part in the meeting, they were asked if they felt the meeting had been useful, they agreed that if their suggestions were acted upon then it would be useful and they would be happy to be involved in taking the recommendations forward.

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