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Voice & Influence


What do we mean by Voice & Influence

In Southend voice & influence refers to how we effectively engage children and young people in activities that support their genuine involvement in positively shaping the way services are planned, delivered and evaluated through meaningful participation and consultation.

Participation is the process by which individuals can influence decision-making and bring about change. This could mean individuals influencing decisions about their own lives, for example children who are supported by social care and health influencing their care plans, or it could mean young people influencing service planning, delivery and evaluation.

Example - In September 2010 Southend Youth Council led a successful campaign which sought to increase the age at which adult fares were charged on Arriva buses from the original fourteen to the current sixteen years of age.  The Youth Council worked closely with local Councillors, presented a petition to Southend Borough Council with signatures from 1,500 young people and received local and national press coverage.  

Consultation is the process by which children and young people are asked their opinions. Consultation requires a commitment to listen, give due weight to the views expressed and feed back outcomes to the children and young people consulted. It can be informal and everyday - a social worker, teacher or youth worker seeking the views of individual children or young people, for instance - or it can be formal and one off - the Council consulting on the plans for a new youth centre.

Example - In October 2010 Southend Children's Partnership launched an on-line survey for children and young people to get their views on key themes such as Southend as a community, lifestyle choices, education, relationships. The responses of the survey were collated and used by managers across the Partnership to plan their work for the next year.

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