More children and young people are to be encouraged to take an active role in the decisions that affect their lives as part of ambitious plans set out at the Nottingham Children’s Partnership Board.

The Children and Young People’s Participation Strategy aims to give every child and young person the opportunity to have their say about the services they receive.

It also wants people to play more of a leadership role in how they play an active role in their communities

The city council already has various ways it talks to young people and children, but this plan would create more ways for them to have their say. It would make sure their views and experiences are used to shape our plans and improve services.

There are three different ways the council can communicate with our city’s young people:

  • Individual participation – where someone is involved in the planning and design of his or her own service plan.
  • Social participation – this could be through services or specific social action projects, community-based youth and play work or school-based programmes.
  • Public participation – typically through involvement in forums or councils, surveys and consultations.

The strategy would give people more opportunities to participate and talk to the council across all three of these mediums, and it would help to show the impact their voices have on improving services.

There are many successful projects and channels the council already uses to talk to young people; our greatest strengths are communicating with them on an Individual level, like our social workers do on a daily basis. We also have many ways the public can talk to us, like the Youth Cabinet, Youth Council and the Primary Parliament.

From these, young people and children in the city told us they wanted a stronger educational focus on STEM subjects, and from that came the Festival of Science and Curiosity. This gives them the opportunity to explore science and technology subjects and hopes to raise aspirations to inspire them to think about a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. In February 2016 the festival will be held for a second time following the success of last year’s event.

This new strategy plan would help us to improve and increase our interactions with young people; one of those would be on a social scale and could include engaging with people at:

  • Play, youth and community events, festivals,
  • learning centre visits, open days, pop up shops, street level engagement
  • Lectures and talks, exhibits, demonstrations

Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said; “We want to make sure Nottingham is a city where all children, young people and families are listened to and involved in the decisions that affect their lives.

“Getting children and young people to participate in decision making about their own lives and affect the development of services that support them is a key objective of the Children’s Partnership and is a value embedded within the Children and Young People’s Plan.

“It’s our responsibility to empower, listen to and act on the voice of the child throughout their journey through services. This is particularly important for children and young people in care, care leavers and those on the edge of care, those under a Child Protection order; and those at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.”

 The Children and Young People’s Participation Strategy was presented to the board at a meeting on Wednesday 16 December.