Home > An audit of children and young people’s participation in decision-making.

Roe, Sandra and McEvoy, Olivia (2011) An audit of children and young people’s participation in decision-making. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

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This aim of this study was to audit children and young people’s participation in decision-making activity in both statutory and non-statutory organisations working with children and young people aged 18 years and under. Four separate online surveys were developed as part of the research process. The first was aimed at Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations that work with or on behalf of children and young people, the second at the HSE and HSE-funded services, the third at young people on Student Councils and the fourth at Student Council Liaison Teachers.

Overall, organisations, services and structures that have involved children and young people in decision-making activity generally reported positive experiences, benefits and outcomes with regard to such activity. However, levels of participation activity and effectiveness varied among respondents. There was a much higher rate of participation activity among children and young people involved in Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations compared with the HSE and HSE-funded services. Four out of 5 respondents (80.3%) from Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations are currently involving children and young people in decision-making and 8.5% have done so in the past, whereas 36.2% of respondents from the HSE and HSE-funded services are currently involving children and young people in decision-making and 19.9% have done so in the past.

Involvement in decision-making was typically described as informal among those from the HSE and HSE-funded services. On the other hand, involvement of children and young people in decision-making within Student Councils, Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations was more structured. The majority of Student Councils are well established and involve young people in decision-making activities on a regular basis. For example, over 8 out of 10 Student Councils (81%) had been in existence for 5 or more years and almost all (93%) meet at least once a month and over half meet more than once a month. Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations reported correspondingly high levels (93.5%) of ongoing involvement in participation activity, with over half (52.3%) having permanent youth councils or forums. Respondents from Comhairle na nÓg, other organisations, the HSE and HSE-funded services all reported an increase in participation activity in the last 3 years.

The key issues that children and young people who are involved in decision-making are consulted about varied, although mental health was cited as one of the most common topics. The HSE and HSE-funded services were most likely to consult with children and young people on mental health issues, whereas Comhairle na nÓg and other organisations were most likely to consult with children and young people on issues relating to youth services, leisure and recreation, followed by mental health issues. Young people on Student Councils were most likely to be consulted by school management in relation to the development of new or existing school rules and policies.


Date:2011
Pages:158 p.
Publisher:Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Place of Publication:Dublin
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy
T Demographic characteristics > Adolescent / youth (teenager / young person)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
L Social psychology and related concepts > Inclusion and exclusion
T Demographic characteristics > Child

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