Why Participation and Engagement?
Participation and Engagement gives children, young people, families and independent adults a chance to be involved in shaping and designing the support and services they can use. It is about listening to what matters most to them, taking their views seriously and implementing their views into service design.
Participation and Engagement Principles
- Children, young people and families have equal opportunity to be involved in shaping and designing the services they use.
- Children, young people and families views are valued.
- The involvement of children, young people and families is a visible commitment which is properly supported.
- The involvement of children, young people and families is monitored, evaluated, reported and constantly improved.
- The involvement of children, young people and families is used to improve products and services through coproduction.
- The Involvement of children, young people and families will influence the decisions made which impact on their lives.
Opportunities to engage
- Children and young people are encouraged to get involved in a range of different participation groups and activities.
- The Rutland Youth Council (RYC) has members from all secondary academies and independent schools in Rutland. This is the formal decision making group representing youth voice across the county.
- The Rutland Disabled Youth Forum is run by young people with a variety of special educational needs and disabilities and provides feedback to many different organisations.
- The Young Inspectors have completed training to give them with the skills to undertake a range of quality assurance audits on services working for and with children and young people across the county.
- The Children in Care Council (CICC) known in Rutland as the SUSO (Speak Up, Speak Out) are involved in reviewing the support and services offered to children living in foster care placements and for care leavers. Their feedback is reported directly to the Corporate Parenting Board.
- The Care leavers group meets to discuss and make recommendations for how services for care leavers could be improved. They also feed into the Corporate Parenting Board.
- Young people can get involved in one off national activities such as Take-Over Day and our Make Your Mark campaign.
- Each of the local groups organised by Rutland County Council usually have their own campaigns they will work on, for instance the Rutland Youth Council is currently running the ‘Taste it, don’t waste it’ reducing Food Waste campaign which has received local and national media coverage.
- There are specialist support services in place to help young people to make sure their views are heard – such as Independent Advocacy for children in care or subject to a child protection plan; Aiming High for children with disabilities; as well as various Young Carers groups.
How do our parents and carers influence what we do?
- Parents and Carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are represented by the Rutland Parent Carer Voice (RPCV) on the Children’s Trust Board which influences all the support in place in Rutland.
- Parents and Carers sit on the SEND Strategic group and are currently shaping how money will be spent in Rutland to improve education for children with SEND.
- Parents sit on interview panels to recruit new staff.
- We gather foster carers feedback verbally at our monthly support groups and regularly ask how we can improve the service offered to them and to the children. We gather views for the Fostering Panel and ask for feedback from their birth children. There are foster carers on the Corporate Parenting Board.
- The Children’s Centre undertakes evaluations after each activity as well as feedback exercises at the end of group work programmes. Families are also asked to complete satisfaction surveys on a quarterly basis. A ‘You said We did’ approach is used to evidence to families that their views are listened to and acted upon.
What do we do with our feedback?
- Here are some examples of how services have been changed and shaped by views of children and young people:
- Young people from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire ad Leicester have produced the ‘Was not Heard’ film being used in training nationwide about the importance and benefits to be gained from listening to children and young people as well as Govt supported Mental Wellbeing training.
- Our Disabled Youth Forum has shaped the layout and content of the Preparing for Adulthood pages of the Local Offer website. They have also made McDonalds make their new restaurant in Rutland more accessible for disabled people and also ensured all road crossings have tactile pavements next to them in Rutland.
- We worked in partnership with care leavers to produce the new Offer for 2021. Care leavers were involved at every stage of the process and from this the Care leavers participation group was developed.
- Following feedback from children and young people concerning difficulties sometimes contacting their social Workers a new App has been developed which all those in care can now have free on their phones and which enables them to text and email the Social workers easily and quickly.
- Results from a survey run with children and young people during the first lockdown indicated that some young people were worried about the types of content they were finding online. We organised an information and advice session led by a specialist Police officer from Leicestershire who is also a CEOP Ambassador to reassure them and advise them about what to do in future.