Inspection Wales partners begin joint work on support for young people

Young people in the UK today may become the first ever generation to record lower lifetime earnings than their parents and grandparents. The media is full of stories about young people struggling to get on the property and career ladders and the vote to leave the European Union has left some people questioning whether there is a generational divide between young and old [opens in new window]. Recently, the BBC reported that rises in life expectancy from birth are slowing down [opens in new window].

Austerity, fiscal policy, and the pressures of an ageing population have all been blamed so far, but the issues affecting the life chances of the younger generation are complex. There is some interesting work being done by the Intergenerational Commission to see whether young adults today are worse off [opens in new window] and if so – why? The Commission is a panel of experts hosted by the independent think tank the Resolution Foundation. The Commission will publish a final report in 2018 with a set of recommendations for the UK government to address imbalances between the generations.

Young people have distinct needs and some need extra support as they move from childhood into adulthood. Understanding and meeting the needs of young people at the same time as serving the wider population poses a challenge for policy makers. Some policy areas like compulsory education are designed around children and young people, but how do you make sure that things like housing, health and economic policy work for them? The challenge for government is to have a coherent strategy to improve young peoples’ lives which cuts across all policy areas that can make a difference. Government also needs effective ways of delivering services for young people that bring the right people together, at the right time, in the right way for young people.

Over the next 18 months or so, Inspection Wales partners will complete the first joint national thematic review, which will look at services for young people. The scope of the Wales Audit Office work has yet to be confirmed, but the study team are currently interested in how the Welsh Government is developing strategies to meet the needs of young people aged 11 to 25.  The team are also interested in understanding what the picture looks like for young people in Wales: Who are they? Where do they live? What are they doing? What do they need? What is the picture of their overall wellbeing and how is that changing over time?

In addition, Estyn has already started its first round of fieldwork looking at local authority and voluntary sector youth services. It will complete further fieldwork in the autumn. Its work looks particularly at the effectiveness of local partnerships, including the contribution of Public Services Boards, in securing adequate and high quality universal and targeted youth support services. Estyn’s work will also capture young people’s views of the youth services they use, and will include an assessment of how the Welsh language needs of young people are being met.

The transition between children’s and adults’ services can be extremely challenging for young people, their families and for professionals. Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has decided to investigate the care provided to young people making the transition from paediatric to adult services. The work will investigate whether care is planned effectively, whether young people receive appropriate support and how the system works together to ensure young people receive the services they need. Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) plans to examine the decision making process for placing looked after children in care settings, although its plans are yet to be finalised.

This blog will provide updates on the thematic review of support for young people as it progresses.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.

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