Monday, 23 March 2015

Young people's voices in design of services

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were looking to develop a programme around the “Voice of Youth.”

Last week I had another good meeting with a statutory body want to hear the concerns of young people to ensure that they are being addressed appropriately. It is widely known that this generation of young people are less interested in party politics than previous generations. What perhaps is less well-known is that they are more engaged in society and societal issues than their parents’ generation.

Meanwhile, it feels to me like there is the will amongst lots of people within the statutory sector to get young people's voices listened to as part of the process of designing services. We are approached about once a month by statutory bodies and other organisations wanting to have young people’s opinions.  

Some may be tokenistic but I believe many are genuine.  However there is often a mismatch between the ways in which young people want to talk and the ways in which statutory bodies want to hear. The traditional focus groups and surveys that have worked in the past will not necessarily appeal to the current multimedia, socially networked generation who have more choices of how to spend their time than ever before. One of the important aspects in all of this is making sure that young people are given some feedback after they’ve give their voice, so that they know what has happened as a result.

This project is taking us a while to develop, rightfully so. I feel like I am on a treasure hunt, gradually gathering together clues on how we can make this happen in partnership with others. We are wondering about whether to create an interactive play or road show type event that can be taken to different youth settings in the county on, say, an annual basis, to collect young people’s opinions. The events would collect information on behalf of a variety of statutory bodies and other organisations. One of the criteria for the design of the events would be basing it on rigorous research methodologies, not just collecting a few sound bites. If you have heard of a similar thing elsewhere, do let me know.



No comments:

Post a Comment