Councillors will hear how engagement with young people has influenced the way the council delivers its services when they meet today.
Durham County Council, along with its partners, believes that involving children and young people in decision making is key to ensuring that the best possible services are provided with the resources available.
On Wednesday (July 10) the council’s cabinet is due to meet to discuss the opportunities offered to young people in County Durham to share their thoughts and feelings through a wide range of engagement activities.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “In County Durham we have a longstanding commitment to making life better for all children and young people and are continually looking to learn and improve what we can offer to them by listening to their views.”
The council carries out a number of surveys with young people through schools, the Area Action Partnerships, and services such as Think Family.
Feedback from the bi-annual Student Voice Survey is used to shape the future delivery of services on offer. It is offered to primary and secondary schools across the county to opt into and the questions are based on six themes, including topics such as behaviour and safety, all in line with Ofsted priorities.
After the 2017 survey the Durham Resilience Programme was rolled out to 25 schools after some pupils raised concerns about bullying. The Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) programme, which aims to help students explore their experiences of mental health using role play, will also be delivered across 30 secondary schools by the end of 2019.
Also developed as a result of the Student Voice Survey, after 354 students stated they drank five or more energy drinks a day, was the Sugar Smart campaign which aims to address the health complications that can come from consuming sugary drinks.
Councillors will also hear of future plans to further improve engagement, which includes the recruitment of a Young People’s Commissioner apprentice who will work with the Durham Safeguarding Children Board to champion the views of young people.
Cllr Gunn added: “It isn’t enough to say we’ve consulted with many young people in many different ways. We’re always listening, and we will turn their views and ideas into practice where we can. The best way to do this is to work with all of our partners to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people in County Durham.”