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Agenda for 31 January 2022





Minutes and actions


Preparation for the discussion with the Minister


Minister for Education and Welsh Language: initial response to the Board’s recommendations


Welsh Government update and draft road map (Hayley and Donna)


Discussion about role of the Interim Youth Work Board (IYWB) ahead of Implementation Board


Next all-SPG event: 2 March


Youth Work Joint Strategic Representative Group (JSG)


Comms and marketing plan (Dareth/Ellie)


Young Person Committee: draft plan for 2022 (Catrin James)


Any other business (AOB)





  • 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)
  • Efa Gruffudd Jones (EGJ): Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh
  • Jo Sims: Blaenau Gwent County Council: Youth Service Manager
  • Dusty Kennedy (DK): Trauma Recovery Model Academy

Welsh Government (WG):

  • Jeremy Miles MS: Minister for Education and Welsh Language
  • Hayley Jones (HJ): Head of Youth Engagement Branch
  • Dareth Edwards (DE): Youth Work Policy Manager
  • Hannah Wharf (HW): Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr Cymorth i Ddysgwyr
  • Donna Lemin (DL): Senior Youth Work Strategy Manager


Catrin James: Urdd, Young Persons Committee


Ellie Parker (EP): Sector Marketing and Communications Officer

Minutes and actions

Welcome and minutes

Minutes from 14th December 2021 were agreed as an accurate and true record.

Action 1 and 2: it was noted that the Leadership and Management discussion that had been planned for this meeting was postponed to the next meeting. In addition the Welsh Government’s Deputy Director for Equity in Education Division would also be invited to the next meeting to enable stronger understanding of youth work and youth work approaches in the context of addressing inequity in education, school attendance and home education.

Action 3: Ellie Parker had been invited to join the 'Young People are Thriving' SPG.

Preparation for discussion with the Minister

The Board had a discussion about the priorities of items to raise with the Minister, which included their initial thoughts on  the Written Statement issued by the Minister in December 2021.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language

The Board members introduced themselves to the Minister. The Minister thanked the Board for all their work to date. He acknowledged a letter sent from KT highlighting some concerns about the lack of detail in the Written Statement. The Minister clarified that there was no change to the level of clear commitment since the start of this work, the lack of detail was to enable a quick response to be prepared prior to Christmas, which he had previously committed to. He further clarified that the full complexities of the issues could not be realistically responded to in that timescale, and the Written Statement was an opportunity to be open with the Board and sector about initial thinking. He also clarified that the commitment to this work will be supported by £11.4 million of new funding over the next three years.

The Minister highlighted that the Implementation Board recruitment would start as soon as possible, and they would be given the remit of driving forward the recommendations and identifying what further work needed to be done to enable that to happen. The Minister explained that there was no intention to row back from commitments made in the Programme for Government in terms of legislation, but in-depth work was needed before progress could be made.

EGJ asked the Minister how we could ensure that the momentum could be kept with regard to the Welsh Language recommendation and track progress in the absence, in the short term, of a National Body.  The Minister responded that we want to work with the Implementation Board to ensure momentum and good leadership is maintained. He noted the importance of strengthening Welsh language services across the education sector overall.

The Board highlighted that they have seen many years of erosion of youth services across Wales and saw this as the time to continue to move at pace to revitalise services to support young people. Also the Board sees a strong need to ensure join up of all elements of support available to young people including across the curriculum.

SL highlighted that the recommendations were all interlinked and provided a jigsaw to give a rights based approach to develop an inclusive youth work service that is available to all young people. KT explained that one of the hardest elements of the work has been in embedding youth work as a valued part of the education process. However youth work also cuts across many other policy areas and should be recognised as a professional workforce that makes a difference to young people, and the legislation recommendation was intended to bring about that difference.

The Minister indicated that he understood further messaging was needed to provide assurances to the sector of his commitment to this work, and he would reflect on the discussion had.

ET noted that she should welcome further work on the funding review to ensure that the funding being deployed to support youth work was sufficient to act as a stimulus to attract other funding and boost its potential impact.

KT thanked the Minister for his time. The Minister thanked the board for their work and the candour they brought to it.

WG Update and draft road map

  • The Youth Engagement Branch had been busy progressing work on the recommendations; a draft delivery plan had been circulated for comment by Board members.
  • National Voluntary Youth Organisations (NVYO) grants come to an end in March and the new Strategic Voluntary Youth Work Organisation grant will commence in April. All applicants have been notified of the outcome of the sift.
  • Criteria for the Youth Support Grant will shortly be reviewed and officials will be looking at how they can better understand how local authorities work with the voluntary sector, as well as how local authorities could be supported to become more inclusive with their youth work services and work with the voluntary sector in this regard.
  • The wider team is working toward finalisation of the revised Youth Engagement and Progression Framework, a publication date is expected towards end of the spring term/early summer term.
  • The Welsh Language Division has additional funding through the winter of well-being scheme and officials are looking to expand the current pilots in both Ceredigion and Caerphilly, and extend it to Flintshire. All funding to be spent in this financial year.
  • Official are still looking at the mapping report, and are waiting for the data and amended document to be sent to Knowledge and Analytical Services for consideration.

Work Plan

  • HJ talked Board members through the draft work plan; organised by 6 months,12 months and longer term. Prioritisation would be required as the work-plan is ambitious.
  • Officials provided further detail on each of the recommendations.
  • Key questions and comments from Board members (general):
    • Need reassurance for the sector that the £11.4m allocation is new funding. It was suggested that the Minister needed to repeatedly deliver the message to the sector.

Recommendation 1

  • What is Children in Wales/Children’s Commissioner’s role?: need to think creatively beyond the work of the Young Person Committee (YPC) so that young people outside the YPC have the opportunity to be involved in the decision making process.
  • How will young people’s involvement be sufficiently resourced?
  • What resource will underpin young peoples’ involvement? Board members asked for clarity on how the additional resource (£11.4 million) will be spent/allocated (priorities and sequencing).
  • Options appraisal for future governance and accountability structure involving young people.

Recommendation 2

  • Programme for Government (PfG) commitment: need clear messaging that this is being taken forward. Make sure  this recommendation does not become reduced to the EWC registration issue. End goal is to establish legislative basis for youth work, so there is clarity for young people about what they can expect from youth work in Wales.
  • Where does good legislative basis exist in UK or internationally?: to use as a starting point e.g. Scotland, New Zealand.
  • It was suggested that the Board would be able to provide a definition of youth work for legislation.

Recommendation 5

  • There is no clarity on whether the recommendation to create a national body has been accepted. The creation of the national body may not rely on legislation. Domestic Abuse Commission set up a body pending the development of the legislative basis for it; embedding the culture of change.
  • National body itself can develop its own structures. Look to Wales Youth Agency structure as a starting point.

Recommendation 6

  • Regional educational consortia are school focused (exception is ALN work) and youth work would be lost within the consortia. Look at Youth Work Joint Strategic Representative Group and other regional models, e.g. regional forums within advocacy work really well (NYAS).

Recommendation 9

  • Service design principles as an underlying principle; initial stage (pre-specification) looking creatively at what the outcome should be.

Recommendation 10

  • Youth Entitlement Card: officials described a recent meeting with Speakers for School regarding their Youth Card. DK felt unsure whether the card would meet the aspirations of the Welsh Youth Entitlement scheme.

Young Persons Committee

Catrin James joined the call to talk through her paper on next steps for the Young Persons Committee:

  • Need to refresh/replenish membership. Perceived gaps:
    • welsh speakers
    • rural areas
    • hidden or physical disabilities
    • carers and care leavers
  • The Young Persons Committee will be involved in the recruitment of a Chair for the new Implementation Board.
  • Guidance on transition period required.
  • The Young Persons Committee prefer focussed and clear guidance to assist their discussions.

Next all-SPG event: 2 March

The importance of messaging around the status of the Board’s report and clarity around the new funding allocation was discussed.

Action: a further Board meeting to be arranged to plan the next all-SPG event (Youth Engagement Branch).

Comms and marketing plan

EP was unable to attend the meeting but would welcome feedback on the draft comms and marketing plan.

Action: Board members will consider the plan and feedback comments.

Youth Work Joint Strategic Representative Group (JSG)

KT confirmed he will be joining the next JSG on 4th May.