Citizenship, youth councils and young people's participation

  • Matthews H
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Abstract

This article focuses upon what has become the most favoured response by statutory and voluntary agencies for encouraging youth participation at a local level within the UK—the setting up of youth councils. Adults often establish youth councils largely because they are perceived to provide tangible opportunities deemed to enable ongoing participation by young people rather than because of demand from young people themselves. Emerging evidence suggests, however, that many youth forums are awed and inappropriate participatory devices, often obfuscating the voices of many young people in local decision making. The article provides a brief review of the development of youth councils in the UK; examines the varying form and type of these different forums; and, drawing upon the views and voices of youth delegates, explores their perceived strengths and weaknesses. An evaluation of the efcacy of youth councils as participatory structures is offered.

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Authors

  • Hugh Matthews

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