See the below invite and fact sheet for information about the Home Office's Young People's Board if you are interested you must email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Director, I wrote, in February 2021, to request your assistance identifying prospective participants in the Home Office Young People’s Board (YPB), an exciting new opportunity for young people to discuss and give their views on a range of migration, borders, and citizenship related issues that are a priority for and directly affect them. Brought to light by the ‘Openness to Scrutiny’ theme across several recommendations in the independent Windrush Lessons Learned Review by Wendy Williams, the YPB is part of the Home Office’s comprehensive improvement plan. Established to provide insight into the customer experience and the Home Office approach to vulnerability, the purpose of the YPB is to: • provide an opportunity for children and young people to be heard and contribute to longer-term progress and change • help identify ways to strengthen Home Office policies, procedures, and practices • enable the Home Office to deliver a child and young person-centred service in accordance with our statutory duty to children and wider safeguarding responsibilities The YPB comprises a small number of young people, aged 13-24, across 4 participation groups (1 each in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), all of whom have personal experience of the Home Office - either directly or through family. As such it contains a mix of those settled here, with limited leave, outstanding applications, and children of people who have come to the UK. We’d also welcome those who have been victims of trafficking and have been supported by an independent child trafficking advocate or referred to the National Referral Mechanism. Typically meeting for 1 hour every 8 weeks (either online, in-person, or as a hybrid event) my team has facilitated 18 YPB sessions, since April 2021, on a variety of subjects, including age assessment reforms, the Nationality and Borders Bill, and supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. While we currently have 20 contributors across our 4 groups, we’re looking to refresh YPB membership, so would appreciate your help identifying potential new participants. We’d be grateful, therefore, if you could please speak again to members of your Children in Care Council or any similar young person’s participation or advocacy group in operation about joining the YPB.
What is the YPB? A collection of 4 participation groups (1 each in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) for young people to discuss and give their views on a range of issues relating to migration, borders, and citizenship. Why has it been set up? For the Home Office to engage effectively with children and young people on issues that are a priority for and directly affect them. The importance of doing this was brought to light by the independent Windrush Lessons Learned Review. What does it look like? Each group contains 5-15 young people, aged 13 to 24, who have personal experience of the Home Office. What support is available? The YPB has a designated safeguarding lead to support participants who need it. If a safeguarding or protection related issue arises, appropriate actions are considered by the safeguarding lead, in consultation with the young person affected. How does it work? A 1-hour session (either online or face to face) typically takes place every 2 months. Who facilitates these meetings? The Home Office Safeguarding Advice and Children’s Champion (SACC) team, but participants also have the opportunity to perform this role themselves, with our support. Can young people decide what is discussed? Yes. Participants can propose issues for discussion. This is alongside ministerial recommendations and suggestions from Home Office policy and operational leads. Won’t the Home Office just take control here? SACC is independent from the Home Office migration, borders, and citizenship decision-making process. Our primary focus is supporting young people to provide their views on the issues that are a priority for them. Will the Home Office consider YPB suggestions? The Home Office has publicly expressed commitment to the YPB. As part of this, considerations and recommendations are shared with senior officials and young people are encouraged to personally present these, where possible. Why join the YPB? • For the opportunity to be heard and contribute to longer-term progress and change. • To help identify areas for strengthening policies, procedures and practices across the Home Office. • To ensure we deliver a child and young person-centred service in accordance with our statutory duty to children and wider safeguarding responsibilities. How will you benefit? You will build your communication, influencing, and leadership skills. The Home Office will also recognise your participation by providing you with a certificate of participation, which can be part of your community and civic duty contribution.