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Young inspectors keep tabs on Medway's children's services

Date: 12/06/2009           Category: Learning and Achievement

Young people in Medway are being given the opportunity to monitor the important services they receive. Medway Council has won a bid to deliver the national Youth 4U Young Inspectors scheme to monitor the work of children’s services in Medway that are provided by the council, Medway NHS, Kent Police in Medway, schools, colleges and the voluntary and community sector. The young inspectors will be recruited from a range of backgrounds, including children in care, those who have disabilities, are homeless, travellers, young carers, youth offenders, young parents, those who have emotional issues, or are not in education or employment. They will be aged from 13 to 19 and up to 25 for those with disabilities and/or learning difficulties. They will inspect and evaluate specific services and get the views of other children and young people who use the services. They will report back to the Medway Children’s Trust and the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) with their findings. The National Children’s Bureau, with the British Young Council and disabled children’s charity KIDS, has been awarded a grant from the DCSF to oversee the programme nationally. The aim of the scheme is to: Enable marginalised young people and their peers to influence local policies and services across a wide range of issues, including health, transport, neighbourhood renewal, information, advice and guidance, and community services. To ensure all young people can feed back their views to Children’s Trust partners, commissioners and other providers. To achieve change through the views and opinions of young people as service users and residents being listened to and acted upon. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Les Wicks said: “There is value in user feedback coming directly from young people. If their opinions are considered they will positively influence the provision and potentially increase uptake. “Inspections give young people more responsibility and more ownership of services in Medway. The process will support the achievement of high standards in service design and delivery.” Medway Council’s Director of Children and Adult Services Rose Collinson said: “ We really value the views and contributions of Medway’s children and young people - they are vital in informing and shaping what we do. . “I believe that everyone who works for and on behalf of children and young people – as professionals or volunteers – plays a critical role in supporting each child to reach their full potential, particularly those from more challenging backgrounds.”