1. Six key principles for effective youth services

This is a chapter of 'Bright Futures: our vision for youth services' – the LGA's long-term vision for youth services and provision.


1. Youth-led

Young people’s voices are central to the provision offered to them. They can choose to attend a variety of services on a voluntary basis, building a sense of autonomy and trust in practitioners that encourages engagement with further work where needed.

Provision is structured around the needs of young people locally, offering both universal, open-access provision wherever possible, with targeted support for those considered more at-risk, disadvantaged or with higher need.

2. Inclusivity, equality and diversity

Young people feel included in their local area and can access the support they need as they progress towards adulthood. No young person feels marginalised or isolated as a result of disability, sexuality, nationality, socio-economic status, special educational needs, mental health issues, religion or any other characteristic.

The local youth offer helps to improve social mobility for young people from all backgrounds by offering support to develop the skills, knowledge and networks they need to access and take advantage of opportunities.

3. Respect

Young people are a valued and respected part of the community whose needs and wishes are considered equally with those of other groups. They are actively encouraged to participate in their communities and to enjoy opportunities in their local area without fear of judgement or negative stereotyping.

4. Quality, safety and well-being

Good quality services are provided by staff with appropriate safeguarding training, linked to a wider network of support. Ideally this includes professionally qualified youth workers with the skills, expertise and competencies to support safe, quality services with appropriate levels and types of intervention. The youth offer helps to keep young people safe and supports their mental, emotional and physical health, improves their social and economic wellbeing, and makes sure they can access education, non-formal learning and recreation.

5. Empowerment

Services empower young people to progress and engage in employment, education and training, and to take an active role in their local communities. Young people are listened to and can make positive demonstrable changes to their communities, and understand how to engage with the democratic process.

6. Positivity

Services are strengths-based and focus on developing the skills and attributes of young people, rather than attempting to ‘fix a problem’.