‘Embedding Participation’ provides an overview of Children and Young People’s participation practice in Bristol. It identifies effective case studies and how good practice can be better integrated into strategic development of services for Children and Young people in the city. The report usefully identifies how Children and Young people’s participation information and practice can be shared and resourced.
The mechanism by which Children and Young People participate and influence are important concerns for Bristol City Council’s Children and Young People’s partnership.
This report accepts the strong tradition of participation amongst Children and Young People’s Services in Bristol. It identifies a wide range of good practice and focuses upon case studies that influence strategic and service agenda. The Children In Care Council, North Bristol Trust Community Children’s Health Partnership, Bristol Youth Opportunities & Youth Capital Funds and the Bristol Youth Select Committee. It also lists further examples of good practice.
It importantly documents participation inconsistency across services and agencies in terms of resources, levels and consequently the methods by which outcomes as a result of Children and Young Peoples participation are applied.
Usefully it highlights key lessons and actions to remedy this participation fragmentation which if implemented, will work towards systematic change for Children and Young People that can be built upon in a cohesive approach.
1 Provides an overview of current participation practice and issues
2 Identifies how good practice can be better co-ordinated and integrated
3 Identifies how good practice can be shared and
4 Identifies how participation work can be resourced.
The report methodology employs a review of participation practice documents submitted by service leads, interviews and focus groups. As a report basis, a working core definition of participation is developed as:-
‘taking part in making public decisions.’
‘It is a process where Children and Young People actively influence decisions about their lives and this leads to change, either in or in the services they get in their communities, or in their own lives and development’.
‘Closing the feedback loop’ is a useful section that emphasises the importance of feedback of impact to Children and Young People as a consequence of consultation. It further explores the concept of ‘consultation fatigue’ and provides key suggestions of avoiding over consultation and ‘silo working’.
It is important to note that this central information portal, the Children and Young People’s ‘word-blog’ regarding participation is an action implemented in response to a recommended identified development within this report.
Name of Report Publisher: Rowan Associates South West – Lori Streich (June 2009)
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View Executive Summary.