The South East Youth Partnership (SEYP) is the similar to the Regional Youth Work Units found across the country. Rather than hold a lot of conferences the SEYP has gone for more of a seminar model where we have input from various key agencies and then have time to network and work more informally with colleagues throughout the region in various workshops.
This particular seminar was looking at the Youth Taskforce and also it’s relevance to Targeted Youth Support. There was an interesting talk from Ian Brady from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) about how the Youth Taskforce came about out of the Respect Taskforce.
I struggle at times with some of the way the Youth Taskforce and its work is described as the language used is very enforcement, almost punitive led and appears to take little account of the relationships with young people and the way in which youth workers work with them.
However, what was clear was a commitment to see how we can work together to resolve the various issues that face vulnerable young people. Ian Brady was definately listening and open to discussion. Whilst we had challenges for him he also gave some back to us. For some of us we outlined the difficulties of trying to work in facilities that had been contracted out (ie leisure centres) where they did not always want to work with challenging young people, or provide their facilities at the time that we needed them to do so. One of his challenges to us was about knowing when and where our facilities were open and did these include Friday and Saturday evenings?
There were also interesting inputs from the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) and the youth policy team there. This led on to some more open and frank discussions about Targeted Youth Support and how far different organisations had got to in developing this work.
Having felt that we were progressing quite slowly in this area it was useful to see that other organisations were mostly at the same stage as we are. Everyone seems to be trying to resolve issues to do with identifying which are the young people we should be targeting, whether to always use the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) , what are the best interventions for what outcomes, how we support young peoples transistion from specialist services back into universal services and how we actually do all this.
Overall the day was really helpful in networking and sharing practice with colleagues, clarifying what the issues are and how we might move forward on them (as well as an overview of government policy). I am still thinking it all over so I will post more once I have them straighter in my mind! In the meantime – the next seminar is in December, on health and I would recommend them to anyone as good thinking time and an opportunity to meet and discuss with colleagues.