Consultation

Ideas for further reading

Let’s talk, let’s listen: guidance for public authorities on consulting and involving children and young people (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, 2008). Contents include the meaning of effective consultation with children and young people, giving feedback, and evaluation and monitoring. Appendix 5 is a helpful 12-point checklist for strategic planning of consultation work, which can be adapted for use by community services or secure establishments.

Young people’s participation in the youth justice system (National Children’s Bureau, 2009). A study of the experiences of a small group of young people in custody, exploring their attitudes to participation and those of staff, within the context of current policy and practice in custodial and community youth justice settings. Includes discussion about the need to overcome barriers such as the stigma that attaches to young people involved in anti-social behaviour and how this can lead adults to believe that the children do not deserve to have their views heard, or will have nothing useful to contribute.

You might need to consider how to address similar reluctance to consulting parents. A useful report here might be the Guidance for the pharmacological management of substance misuse among young people (Department of Health, 2009). This guidance sets out the compelling reasons for including parents in the planning for their child’s care and treatment. These are about giving parents information, valuing what parents can do to support their children, and supporting adults through their own as well as their children’s difficulties. These ideas offer food for thought about what parents with vulnerable children might also contribute if consulted more generally, about service commissioning, planning and delivery.

Hear by Right is a standards framework developed by the National Youth Agency (NYA) to help organisations improve their policy and practice around the active involvement of young people. The framework supports staff to audit all aspects of their service to ensure that ‘young people’s involvement is built in and not just bolted on’. It promotes a strategic approach based on shared values rather than ad hoc consultation activities. The framework has been used for activity relevant to the needs of those involved with the youth justice system and in secure settings. A series of case studies illustrate how this framework has been used.

Committed to Rights: a package of information and resources developed by Barnardo’s and NACRO includes suggestions about helpful skills and techniques for consultation work.

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