Youth Voice Strategy


This strategy outlines our collaborative approach to strengthening the reach and co-production with young people in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Co-production refers to a way of working where service providers and users, work together to reach a collective outcome. The approach is value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it.

The strategy also includes a clearly defined ‘purpose’ for youth voice and surrounding key principles, resources and case studies running throughout the document.

We would like colleagues to share these resources with their teams and to seek opportunities to use, recreate and embed them into the policy and practice.

Case study 1: H&F Peer Researchers Illuminate Podcast

The podcast Illuminate was created by Young H&F’s Peer Researchers age 15 – 19, to shine a light on the issues facing young people in Hammersmith & Fulham. This was done to ensure that young people felt visible and valued, at the centre of articulating their issues and were in the best place to determine and advocate for them. We worked in partnership with the peer researchers from the outset. Young People were involved in talks with White City Place about being able to use the studio space for free. They held a meeting to present their proposal for the podcast which led to us being donated the podcast booth for six episodes.

They determined the aims of the podcast, which were to have real and raw conversations about key issues young people faced in their Peer Research Report ‘Growing up in Hammersmith & Fulham.’ They further wanted to present the report in a digestible format that was easy for young people to engage with. The podcast was completely led by the peer researchers, who determined everything from the episodes down to how it was designed, which led to the final image being illustrated by a peer researcher. They were rewarded with vouchers for their time.

Annie Rockson

The purpose

A strategic group of key stakeholders, in partnership with the Youth Council have defined the purpose of youth voice  to include: 

Valuing the voices and lived experiences of our young residents to shape a happier, healthier and safer borough. Hammersmith & Fulham has a corporate priority of ‘doing things with residents not to them’.

Young people as influencers, co-producers and agents of change for example, in policy, strategic boards, access to opportunities & support, funding and commissioning decisions.

Expanding opportunities and possibilities in young people’s lives so they feel valued, are connected to their community and acquire transferable skills.

Case study 2: Youth Council co-production with Healthwatch on mental health

A key priority for the H&F Youth Council is to ensure that young people in the borough have the best possible support with their mental health. Prior to the onset of Covid 19 they carried out an in-depth research project engaging over 4000 young people in discussions on their mental health and access to support. They also produced a youth led video highlighting the impact of lockdown and associated isolation on young people’s mental health.

Throughout 2021 they worked with Healthwatch and the Youth Voice Co-ordinator to carry out further research (co-producing and delivering surveys, and focus groups). They then co-produced a series of recommendations from their compiled findings for commissioners and deliverers of mental health services and schools. A co-production group has now been established (led by the Clinical Commissioning Group and including key members of the Mental Health Partnership Board) to review and action the recommendations and to feed into the Early Intervention Strategy.

Brenda Whinnett

Guiding principles

For us it is important that youth voice is:

Visible and Valued: Young people are at the centre of articulating our priorities and determining the best ways to address them. The impact is visible, celebrated and communicated; with clear and consistent governance processes in place.

Inclusive: Youth voice opportunities and information will be accessible to ALL and proportionate to the diversity of the borough’s young people.

Lead to change: Youth voice should lead to tangible change. Where not possible, clear, honest and accessible explanations must be given.

Co-production as the way we do things: We work in partnership with young people to reach collective outcomes and shared solutions. Involving them wherever possible from the onset of decision- making processes.

Creative fun and meaningful: Involvement is meaningful, fun and engaging for young people using the methods and platforms that young people want us to use.

Rewarded: Young people will be rewarded and recognised for their time, commitment, ideas and hard work with a clear progression route.

Safe and positive: Any possible risks to the physical or emotional safety of young people should be mitigated and adequate support and training provided to fully prepare and empower young people to be meaningfully involved.

Case study 3: Corporate Parenting Board

These meetings are held quarterly through the year and during school holidays. Young people attend these meeting alongside councillors, managers and officers with the service. These meetings give young people the opportunity to ask questions and respond to developments and various areas of improvement across the service in relation to the 3 priorities for the young people:

•    Settled and Belong
•    Safe, Happy and Healthy
•    Thriving Adults

The Children in Care Council and Care Leavers have also worked alongside the Corporate Parenting Board to co-design the New Pathway Plan. A Young Inspector Programme has also been established with young people receiving training to inspect and co-produce recommendations to improve the services they receive including those provided by Centre Point.

Nathesha Ashbourne

The journey

At the start of this process,  August 2021, youth voice was  highly valued, with young people  regularly consulted and involved  in decision making and some positive examples of co-production  taking place with young people  throughout the borough. This is reflected in the diagram.

We wanted to build on these developments and work collaboratively to further strengthen, streamline and expand the reach and impact and to embed co-production with young people as the way we do things. The strategic group worked in collaboration with Youth Council, to review youth voice arrangements, develop recommendations and a clear governance process.

Case study 4: Youth Voice Champion

The role of Youth Champion is an important one for the Hammersmith and Fulham Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. As a newly formed LSCP we are keen to ensure that our young people have the chance to inform and contribute, and to provide us with robust challenge to ensure that we are working on issues that matter to them.

The Chair of the LSCP, Mike Howard holds regular meetings with Cat Miller (LSCP Business Manager), Brenda Whinnett, Youth Voice coordinator and Gareth Dixon CEO Young H&F Foundation, to go through the agenda for the LSCP Forum.

The Forum is a meeting where all the partners meet on a quarterly basis to address topics that are in line with the LSCP Priorities. Brenda and Gareth work closely with young people in the borough and are
able to frame issues through a young person’s lens, to give us different perspectives.

The aim of this is to ensure that as an LSCP we are capturing young people’s views, and critically, responding directly to issues that are top priority for our young people who live in H&F. This links closely
to the Youth Voice Purpose and Principles by valuing young people’s views and experiences, supporting them to be agents of change and encouraging co-production and decision making.

Gareth Dixon
Brenda Whinnett
Nathesha Ashbourne

Our priorities

We identified some key priority areas:

Ensuring Inclusivity & Proportionality and that young people are empowered to be meaningfully involved.

Developing a hybrid of face to face and virtual delivery for youth voice, structured online sessions and informal drop in sessions, alongside the use of social media and other youth focused platforms to enable a much wider and inclusive engagement of young people.

Strengthening collaborative working Capturing a ‘menu’ of feedback from young people and mapping of youth voice communication - an accessible central point of information.

To demonstrate the impact of youth voice in a clear and consistent way.

A consistent process for involvement in commissioning decisions.

Agreed governance and feedback process for young people’s involvement in strategic boards and partnerships.
A consistent approach for capturing informal youth voice via peer to peer conversations, via youth and social workers.

Engaging with young people in ways that they want us to engage with them.

A short-term action plan was produced to meet these priorities.

Case study 5: Youth Council training on appropriate terminology

The H&F Youth Council work with the borough’s Youth Voice Coordinator and Equalities Lead to produce a training session for schools and LBHF colleagues (through a lunch and learn session) highlighting the correct use of appropriate and inclusive terminology for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The training session was recorded and will be used as training tool.

Brenda Whinnett

Timeline of key achievements

Aug 21 to Dec 21
Strategy group & Youth Council reviewed prioritised, and defined the purpose and principles

Sept 21
Produced a collaborative short- term action plan
Aug 21
Empowerment sessions for disabled young people (ongoing work leading to meaningful co-production)

Oct 21
Bigger better, more diverse Youth Council

Nov 21
Designed and created the Youth Voice Champion Role to strengthen youth voice governance.

Jan 22
Young Grant Makers awarded £50k grants to local organisations
Nov 21
Peer Researchers podcast ‘Illuminate’ released

Mar 22
Youth Mayor and UK Youth Parliament Elections
Communication - Youth focused comms plan (social media, video & podcasts)
Communication with professionals and sharing the resource

Apr 22 onwards
Embed into policy and practice Moving to a hybrid model of youth voice delivery Communication and training with professionals -sharing the resources

May to Sep 22
Demonstrating Impact

Jun 22
Youth Achievement Awards 2022

Sep 22
Youth Voice Engagement Strategy 2023 (to be completed by March 2023)

The Youth Voice Champion role

The purpose of the Youth Voice Champion role is ‘To champion youth voice and engagement, ensuring that the voice of young people is heard in relation to decisions being made about them’.

Part of the role is to provide scrutiny and challenge at meetings and boards where adults discuss young people when they are not present. This way, if young people’s voices haven’t been heard, we can ask why not and discuss ways in which they can be.

Regarding engaging with young people, the Youth Voice Champion can say what we are doing well, what should be done differently and how we can make engagement with young people more valuable.

The Youth Voice Champion will bring knowledge and insight from young people, so that it influences improvements, supports strategic planning, and helps adults make effective and efficient decisions.

Why we need this role

  • It will help us hear what young people have to say about the important issues affecting them.
  • It will help young people have a better understanding of what is going on for them.
  • To inform young people that we want to hear from them so we can make improvements that make a positive difference to their life.
  • To ensure young people can be involved in making services work for them by engaging with consultations and reviews.
  • To enable young people to have the confidence to speak up and be unapologetically themselves.
  • To certify that Youth Voice in H&F is inclusive, diverse, and as reflective of the local.

Case study 6

Young Interview Panels

Children and young people are trained to be involved in interviews of CHS professionals. Recently diverse and representatives panels of young people have been involved in the interview process for the Director of Education for SEND and the OD for Children’s and Young People Services.

Brenda Whinnett 

Nathesha Ashbourne

Mapping of Youth Voice and menu of feedback

A mapping of youth voice opportunities and ‘menu’ of feedback (including local, national and regional youth focused research) has been collated by the Youth Voice Coordinator and is intended for use by professionals to avoid over consulting and duplication and to strengthen the impact of youth voice.

Case study 7: Grant makers

Young Hammersmith & Fulham opened small grant applications so local organisations and projects servicing young people had the opportunity to apply for funding.

We wanted to put young people at the heart of these funding decisions and upskills them with essential employability skills and an understanding of the charity sector.

This programme brings together a group of young people aged 14 – 24 with a passion to make Hammersmith and Fulham a better place. The panel are given training and introduced to the challenges charities face to secure funding. They then form the young grant makers panel where they watch and the application videos sent through the grant process.

This initiative is a unique opportunity to engage in decision-making that funds a diverse range of local projects whilst putting young people at the heart of our decision-making process.

Nadia Harding

Case study 8: Disability equality training

A group of disabled young people and young people with special educational needs, participated in a series of Disability Equality Training and empowerment sessions delivered by disabled trainers from ALLFIE (The Alliance for Disabled Education) which covered the following topics:

•    The social model of disability (address oppression experienced by disabled people)
•    Defining ‘disability’
•    An overview of the Equality Act
•    Help to recognise disabling barriers and identify solutions
•    Speaking up and campaigning (See full evaluation report)

The young people have co-produced a video outlining their recommendations for inclusion
and inclusive youth provision. The intention is that the video will inform future commissioning decisions and next steps included the young people co coproducing a QA framework for the inclusive employment support and inclusivity training offer.

Brenda Whinnett

Tamara Stuiver

Scott Tweed

The ask

We ask you, the professionals working with or deciding on services and opportunities for young people, to adopt this youth centred approach to youth voice. Please share and lead discussions with your teams.

How can you apply the purpose, guiding principles and resources (the mapping, role of the Youth Voice Champion and case studies) in your service or organisation? If for example, your team is building an
assessment framework, service specification or planning a new project, how will evidence that you have
co-produced this with young people? That you have used the feedback already captured in the mapping? That the process has been purposeful and meaningful for the young involved and they have been fully informed throughout the process?

This document and associated resources can be found at:

Contact the Youth Voice Coordinator or CEO of Young Hammersmith & Fulham for more info.

Case study 9: Youth justice survey consultation addressing disproportionality

A survey has been co-produced by colleagues in the Youth Offending Service (soon to be renamed the Youth Justice Service) to explore disproportionality amongst service users and to inform the future direction of the service and wider in Children’s Services.

The survey (which is completed in 1:1 discussions with the young people) showed the three most prevalent areas for young people working with the service to be

•    Cannabis,
•    Knife crimes
•    Racially aggravated offences

Results are being shared with the management board.

Polly Green

Tereza Harvey

With thanks to

Annie Rockson:

Brenda Whinnett:

Nathesha Ashbourne:

Amelia Steele:

Gareth Dixon:

Cat Miller:

Nadia Harding:

Tamara Stuiver:

Scott Tweed:

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