Effective participation demands a whole-systems approach, combining five key elements:
- Culture: The ethos of an organisation, shared by all staff and service users, which demonstrates a commitment to children and young people’s participation.
- Structure: The planning, development and resourcing for participation is evident in an organisation’s structure.
- Practice: The ways of working, methods for involvement, skills and knowledge that enable children and young people to meaningfully participate.
- Review: The monitoring and evaluation processes that enable an organisation to evidence change effected by children and young people’s participation.
- Process: If participation is to be effective, meaningful and sustainable, it needs to be understood as a process and not a one-off event and requires ongoing commitment in terms of time and resources.
Children and young people’s participation should include developmentally and culturally appropriate information, listening to their experiences and opinions and taking what they say seriously.
Children and young people should be asked whether they want to participate in decision-making processes. There will be occasions when children and young people do not want to be involved.
There are several models that provide a framework to guide meaningful participation and consultation with children and young people.
For more information please visit Youth Policy