‘To secure the future of youth work through policy and law’ is one of our key strategic aims along with the recognition of the educational and social value of quality youth work delivered by trained and supported practitioners, so the policy commitment from the Labour Party is hugely welcome and hopefully will encourage other political parties to articulate their commitments to youth work as prominently. Credit is due to the range of youth work agencies and organisations that have been pushing the agenda over several years with politicians across varying political parties and to the Labour team themselves who have worked on this in a meaningful way.
As a political response, it is understandable that this commitment is being proposed in relation to youth crime and violence, and whilst a reduction in these things can be a consequence of quality youth work, our fear is that if not careful our profession may be reduced to a tool to bring Police stats down.
Our advice to all parties is to discuss the implementation of new youth work with the practitioners who best understand its efficacy and appropriateness in application; those who know it as a powerful educative process with far reaching personal and social consequences. Should this happen, we could expect so very much more than simply ‘crime to go down’.
The Labour Party announcement, made on the 31st July 2018, can be found here: https://labour.org.uk/press/labour-announce-bold-vision-statutory-youth-services/