Trained and supported by Services for Young People (SfYP), Young Commissioners are involved in the development of services for children and young people in Hertfordshire. They have a say in choosing who delivers the services, how they are delivered, and they also monitor how effective they are in meeting young people’s needs. Young Commissioners are from a range of backgrounds and represent and advocate for young people to ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them.
The Young Commissioner programme is open to all young people aged 11 to 17, up to 24 for care experienced young people and those with learning disabilities, who live or go to school in Hertfordshire. The programme continues to expand, with eight young people new to the role attending a training day with SfYP at Hudnall Park on 30 October. The young people joined in with outdoor team-building activities and found out more about what it means to be a Young Commissioner. The process of planning and implementing services was explained, with an emphasis on why involving young people (co-production) is so effective in developing and delivering better services.
During the training, the young people had their first taste of life as Young Commissioners by providing feedback to influence several different services. This included completing a survey for Hertfordshire County Council’s (HCC) Adult Day Services, a tender evaluation for a new Hertfordshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) digital advice and guidance service, as well as choosing the theme ‘Be Kind and Connect’ for Feeling Good Week 2023.
The benefits of being involved in the programme are evident from the existing Young Commissioners. They have gained essential skills, insight and confidence through their experiences, and have had their voices heard in lots of ways. For example, in the last month, they were involved in developing a short video for the Hertfordshire Children and Young People's Emotional and Mental Wellbeing Fair. The young people were filmed presenting their views about how children and young people’s mental wellbeing could be better supported, and how co-production with young people and mental health services could be improved. Young Commissioners have also reviewed tender applications for services to support families when relationships have broken down and three Young Commissioners recently worked as a team with the Local Government Association (LGA) to conduct a ‘peer challenge’, providing feedback and evidence on how HCC consults with young people and the impact of this on council-led services.
Read more about SfYP Young Commissioners and how young people can get involved.
Find out other ways SfYP supports young people in Herts to get their voice heard.