Children and young people participation
To ensure the quality assurance consultation activities for children and young people in Swansea.
Consultation and engagement
What do we mean by consultation and engagement?
Consultation can be defined as 'the deliberation of two or more persons on some matter, with a view to make a decision' (Oxford English dictionary), and can have the following benefits:
- Development of problem solving and negotiation skills;
- Development of relationships between young people and service providers;
- Improvement of service delivery;
- Development of effective policies;
- Promotes community participation;
- Publicise how effective service providers are at participative working and supporting young people in service development;
- Identifies ways of improving and fulfilling the unmet needs of children, young people, families, community members etc;
- It offers young people another mechanism for having their voice heard;
- Development of sustained processes of collaboration between decision makers and young people.
How do we quality assure consultation and engagement work?
Consultation should offer opportunities to young people that provide quality experiences. We can measure activity against the National Participation Standards for young people. Effective consultation means:
- Information is given to the appropriate people in a way that is accurate, easy to understand and explains what difference their involvement will make;
- Details of the consultation are provided in a timely manner so that young people can be invited and can make an informed choice about whether they want to or should be involved;
- Consultations are inclusive and do not discriminate. The opportunity should accommodate any young person who feels it is relevant for them to get involved. This is not to say that all consultations are relevant to all young people;
- The views of young people gathered during consultation are respected. Consultation should only be offered at a formative stage and young people should only be involved if their opinions and views can realistically be taken account of;
- Young people get something out of it. Work should be carried out in fun, safe and enjoyable ways and should be a positive experience for those involved;
- Consultants plan feedback into their processes. It is important that young people know what difference their views have, or have been unable to make and why;
- The way consultation is planned should improve how we work - both how we work with young people and how plans and decisions are made.
To ensure the quality assurance consultation activities for children and young people in Swansea, the Participation Team will:
- Where possible ensure that service providers and decision makers wishing to undertake consultation with children and young people, complete a participation protocol questionnaire clarifying role, purpose, benefits etc. The team will assess the quality of the consultation and make recommendations to the consultants if necessary;
- Act as a central body identifying relevant groups and individuals that may be interested or benefit from participating in the consultation, for example, opportunities will be sent through the Participation Network and other existing networks and time will be set aside at 'Big Conversation' to hold consultations for those who wish to stay;
- Make sure of, and support, the development of the consultation database so that consultations can be coordinated and planned on a yearly basis;
- Using the Article 12 Tracker, record and evaluate the impact of young people's involvement in opportunities provided / supported by the CYP Participation Team.