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Agenda for 13 June 2022






Minutes and Actions

Minutes of 28 March 2022


Update from Keith and introduction to the newly appointed Chair



Welsh Government (WG) update



“Handover” discussion between Board members and new Chair



Strategy Participation Group (SPG) updates (all)



Any other business






Board members:

  • Keith Towler (KT): Interim Youth Work Board Chair
  • Eleri Thomas (ET): Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Gwent
  • Simon Stewart (SS): Dean of Faculty of Social and Life Sciences at Wrexham Glyndwr University
  • Sharon Lovell (SL): Executive Director for the National Youth Advocacy Service and Vice Chair, Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS)
  • Dusty Kennedy (DK): Trauma Recovery Model (TRM) Academy
  • Efa Gruffudd Jones (EGJ): Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh
  • Jo Sims (JS): Blaenau Gwent County Council, Youth Service Manager

Welsh Government (WG):

  • Hayley Jones (HJ): Head of Youth Engagement Branch
  • Hannah Wharf (HW): Deputy Director Support for Learners
  • Dareth Edwards (DE): Youth Work Policy Manager
  • Donna Lemin (DL): Senior Youth Work Strategy Manager
  • Dyfan Evans (DEv): Head of Youth Engagement Branch

Minutes and actions

Minutes from 28 March 2022 were agreed as a true and accurate record.

Update from Keith Towler (KT)

KT welcomed everyone to the first blended meeting. He congratulated SL on her appointment as Chair of the new Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board. He reflected that he felt it was a good appointment and noted that the stakeholder and social media response had been very positive.

SL thanked KT for his kind messages, and advised it was a very thorough process, she is delighted to have been successful and welcomed the support of the current Board. She also advised that she welcomed the recruitment process involving members of the Young Persons Committee. She passed her thanks to KT as the outgoing chair and highlighted his commitment and solid leadership created a positive way of working with the Board.

KT noted the Minister’s commitment to this work and the resources that have been found to support this agenda. He reflected that they had achieved a sector-led approach and developed a rate of momentum, and that he felt they have made a difference in taking this agenda forward.

Welsh Government (WG) update

  • DEv noted that strengthening the legislative basis for youth work has been prioritised by the Minister. Officials have had internal discussions with legislative colleagues to gain clarity on options available and how best to progress with this recommendation.
  • DEv noted that the consultation on proposed EWC registration requirements for youth workers and youth support workers has now closed. WG officials are working through the analysis of responses and a consultation response document will be published in July. There will be a further consideration of related issues such as the fees of registration and legislative changes in a further consultation later in 2022. DEv highlighted that there had been a good level of response to the consultation, covering both the voluntary and the maintained sector.
  • On the funding review, HJ advised that two options are being scoped: firstly via a ‘traditional’ commissioned route, and an alternative route working with Higher Education institutions (HEI’s). This work has been pushed forward as a priority. The team have received an outline proposal from the HEI’s for consideration. This will be fed into advice submitted to Minister shortly on both options. In either case a steering group will be established to support this work and ET has already indicated her wish to be involved. ET commented that she would like the specification to be developed as quickly as possible and she would be keen to see what will be included as part of that. She further noted that the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office were keen to explore further with Audit Wales why they did not feel it would be appropriate to use them for this work. However she emphasised the need to be sure that this work is done thoroughly and robustly.
  • There was a discussion about what could happen now and what could wait until the new Board was in place to oversee it. It was agreed that this work should continue to be able to inform the future work of the new Board, in particular the funding review and legislation.
  • DEv advised that consideration will be given to making further progress this year on the Board’s recommendation by considering options to extend equality and diversity and the Welsh language strands. This could include reconsidering further funding for the SVYWO grant and working on Welsh language pilots going forward. EGJ suggested that using the learning from the Welsh Language pilot, and work across the whole of Wales, would be beneficial. The Board welcomed the opportunity for longer-term funding to be provided for Welsh language work and asked to see the final reports for the Welsh language pilots and learning from them.

Action: DR to send on the final Welsh language reports.

  • DR advised as part of the work on equality and diversity we will build on the approach taken with the additional mental health funding last year to require Local Authorities to work with the voluntary sector to deliver any projects, but this should also include wider diversity including race, disability and digital inclusion. KT agreed this approach would be beneficial and resonated with the early discussions with young people
  • DK advised that the digital group wanted to ensure young people were involved with the work on service design, and this should also include consideration of Welsh language, digital etc.
  • ET raised the need to ensure that youth work is a part of the Race Equality and Diversity action plan, to ensure that the plan is coherent across all areas of work.
  • DE updated the Board on the recruitment of the remaining Board members for the Implementation Board. It was noted that the advert for the board recruitment went out the week beginning 6 June and will close on 4 July. She provided an overview of the process that will be followed including the involvement of young people and ensuring diversity in both the panel and the Board itself. She advised that the full Board should be in place by September.
  • There was discussion about the role of young people on the new Board and the remuneration for those young people. SL also advised that the co-ordinators of the young persons committee were developing a work plan that would be submitted shortly.

Action: DE and SL to discuss approaches with the Young Persons Committee.

Action: SL to speak to Catrin James about the progress of the Young Persons Committee plan.

Hand over between Boards

To help with preparation for the new Board, SL asked what are currently the fundamental themes and issues for the SPG’s and if there is value in holding an ‘all SPG’ meeting between now and the new Board being established. Comments by Board members were as follows:

  • KT advised that the SPG groups are still meeting, with the exception of the Accessible and Inclusive SPG which has now stopped.
  • JS advised that the Workforce Development SPG is continuing to meet and has prepared a brief paper for the new Board which will be submitted when it has been agreed by the group.
  • DK advised that the Digital group is very keen to carry on and to design the new programme, and that there is real appetite for a conference to share best practice. He was also happy to represent Wales on ERYICA, and both the voluntary and statutory sectors were able to be involved.
  • EGJ advised that the Welsh language group could come to an end and members could sit on other groups to ensure that Welsh language issues were mainstreamed and remained on all agendas. EGJ was also happy to remain involved in this work until the new Board is in place.

It was agreed that the SPG’s have enabled effective working across the sector to ensure stakeholders are engaged and help shape the way forward. The approach has been welcomed by both members of the SPG’s and the Board.

There was discussion around the next ‘all SPG’ meeting and it was agreed it would take place later than initially suggested and provide a valuable opportunity to consider next steps as well as updating them on progress with recruitment of Board members. It was also agreed that it would be a valuable opportunity for the Minister to be engaged with the work at an early point.

SS suggested a change of name from SPG to reflect the new way forward; in his opinion, there needed to be an emphasis on delivery, a sense of ‘rolling up your sleeves’ and working collaboratively. It was suggested that WG could undertake a survey to build on the feedback received at the previous ‘all SPG’ meeting about what has and has not worked and what stakeholders feel needs to be put into place to help create a sustainable model for your work.

Action: WG to develop a survey and to send feedback from the previous All SPG meeting to Board members.

SS suggested that if new groups are established there needed to be training for new members focusing on the values that had been central to the work of the SPGs to date far and lines of accountability to help avoid loss of momentum.

Any other business (AOB)

In closing, KT wished SL luck with the new role and thanked the Board members for all their work over the last four years to get to this point. The Board also thanked officials for their support over the previous four years.