Young people to have more of a say in council decisions


Children in Merton to give their opinion on how money is spent on schools and family services

By Glyn Semple

CHILDREN and young people will have a bigger say in local services according to Merton council’s Participation Promise.

Posters and leaflets will be displayed in prominent positions to remind adults that children’s voices need to be heard.

They promise young people that times and places will be arranged for them to tell the council what they think.

Councillor Debbie Shears, Cabinet Member for children’s services, wants the council to offer the best services to all residents no matter what their age.

She said: “It makes perfect sense for young people to have a say in the development of services which will directly affect them and their families.”

Currently young people have the Youth Parliament, Children’s Council, Annual Young People’s survey and the Children in Care Council and new channels are being developed.

Children are to have a say on how money is spent on children’s, schools and family services.

At the moment young people sometimes feel their voices go unheard.

The council’s youth participation officer Jo Young says young people need to be able to see the results and with some policies their input is not obvious.

But she says they do understand the issues that affect them and are good at asking questions until they get clear answers.

“Adults are not very good in giving feedback after talking to young people,” she said.

However the youth parliament has a lot of effect within the children schools and families department she says.

The Children’s Parliament often discovers promising young policy makers of the future.

This year there were at least three outstanding young parliamentarians.

Look for the posters in schools and public buildings around the borough.

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