All Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs launch inquiry on the role and sufficiency of youth work

25 May 2018

Parliamentary Inquiry on the role and sufficiency of youth work 

Call for evidence

A new inquiry supported by cross-party MPs has been launched today with a call for evidence on the role and impact of youth work. This will consider if there is sufficient youth work and services to meet some of the key challenges and opportunities for young people.

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP said:

“It is seven years since the last parliamentary inquiry into youth services and youth work. Over the years youth work has borne the brunt of significant spending cuts. Recent events and reports suggest the loss of youth work has had a negative impact on young people and communities.

In the face of rapid technological change and major economic and societal challenges we need to look again at what support young people need now and to meet their needs for the future. I am pleased we are supported by the National Youth Agency to deliver this inquiry across England.”

Vice-Chair Gillian Keegan MP added:

“Youth work can make a significant difference to the character, resilience and life skills of young people. There is a rich history and some great examples of youth work across the public sector, voluntary, community and faith organisations. This includes social action projects and national programmes supported by business and social enterprise.

Yet we lack a coherent approach to secure and sustain youth work, and a proper understanding of the levels and extent of youth work needed to achieve the best outcomes for young people.”

The inquiry is part of the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs which is a cross party group. The National Youth Agency has agreed to coordinate the running of this one-off inquiry along with the ongoing support of BYC and YMCA England and Wales who are the permanent secretariat for the APPG.

The consultation will close on 27th June 2018. This will be followed by parliamentary hearings and visits, due to report at the NYA Youth Work Conference in the autumn.

NYA Chief Executive Leigh Middleton said:

“Youth work can transform lives. As the national body for youth work we are delighted to team up with sector partners to support the APPG Youth Affairs inquiry to highlight the impact of youth work. It is important to understand how youth work has adapted to the modern world understood by young people, commissioners and funders alike.”

Individuals and organisations can submit their responses online to the key lines of inquiry here.

  1. What is the role of youth work in addressing the needs and opportunities for young people?
  2. Are the key issues and challenges faced by young people being addressed by current youth service provisions?
  3. Are there sufficient youth workers to support youth services and other delivery models for good quality youth work?
  4. What are the training and workforce development needs to secure and sustain youth work?





  1. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Youth Affairs was established in 1998 to raise the profile of issues that affect and concern young people, encourage dialogue between parliamentarians, young people and youth services, and encourage a co-ordinated and coherent approach to youth policy making. Its Secretariat is the British Youth Council and YMCA England & Wales.  APPG Register of Members
  2. The National Youth Agency is leading support for the APPG Inquiry on youth work, in its call for evidence, hearings, visits and report:
  • May: Call for evidence: 25 May to 27 June
  • July: Parliamentary hearings: 4 July; 11 July; 24 July; 11 September
  • Aug-Sept: Inquiry visits to youth services and youth projects
  • Oct: National Youth Work Conference, report findings: 31 October
  1. Additional notes:

What is youth work?

  1. “Youth” covers the critical stages of development which can start as early as 8 years of age and typically up to 25 years in particular for vulnerable or marginalised young people.
  2. Youth work focuses on personal and social development and skills that deepens a young person’s understanding of their self, their community and the world in which they live, and supports them to proactively bring about positive changes. Where youth work is a form of education which provides a safe place to develop so-called ‘soft skills’ and a social network.
  3. The National Youth Agency is the national body for youth work; for more information about youth work visit

 Is there sufficient youth work?

  1. Local authorities have statutory responsibilities to make sure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that there is sufficient provision of activities to improve young people’s well-being and personal and social development. This includes youth work.
  2. Youth work takes place in a range of contexts and settings most easily recognised in youth clubs, residential centres, community projects, or street work enabling access to both universal (open access) services and targeted support for young people and between families, community groups and services.
  3. Equally youth work can take place in formal institutions such as schools, colleges, children’s services, youth offending teams (YOTs), counselling and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), contributing to the wider development of services, multi-agency-working and partnerships.

What is the impact of youth work?

  1. Youth work is carried out by professionals and volunteers. However data collection and reporting is inconsistent across a wide range of services and communities; where a coherent approach identifying the impact of youth work is needed to support investment in youth work and achieve the best outcomes for young people recognised by commissioners.