Westminster City Council and Kensington and Chelsea Council have launched their new Bi-Borough Children and Young People’s Plan 2023-2026.
The plan sets out the vision for Children’s Services in both boroughs over the next three years and how both councils will work to achieve better outcomes for children and young people. It is the first plan to have major, direct involvement from young people, who have shared their views with both councils through a series of engagement activities.
More than 130 children and young people aged 11-25 participated in a series of workshops; these groups included Children in Care Councils, Young Westminster Foundation, RBKC Youth Council, Westminster Youth Council, and a variety of youth clubs and holiday and food activity provisions.
Issues of equality, diversity and inclusion emerged as a key theme throughout the engagement with young people. These are reflected at the heart of the plan and have shaped the key priorities for Children’s Service over the next three years:
- All children have the best start in life, needs are identified and supported early, and they are school ready at five.
- Children and young people have access to high quality education and training opportunities, have good attendance at school and achieve their full potential.
- Children and young people feel safe, and are protected from serious youth violence, harm, harmful practices, abuse, and neglect at home, online and in the community.
- All young people, and particularly those who are vulnerable, can realise their ambitions and take advantage of opportunities and life skills which prepare them for adulthood.
- All our young people feel listened to, empowered, and have opportunities to co-produce/co-design services that affect them.
- All children and young people are happy and healthy, with access to a diverse range of activities and opportunities to support their physical, mental health and emotional wellbeing
- Children and young people affected by the Grenfell tragedy continue to be supported.
Young people also expressed their concerns about the cost of living, support for growing into adulthood, and safety in their communities.
The plan sets out a number of objectives for Children’s Services and a series of actions for how these will be achieved. The success of the plan will be measured by a Youth Forum, convened at the end of each year, to bring young people together to scrutinise and review progress. Children’s Services will also publish data for each borough quarterly to ensure services and support for young people are being delivered effectively.
Bi-Borough Children’s Services in Westminster and RBKC have been rated Outstanding by OFSTED. In the most recent focused visit in June 2022, OFSTED inspectors reported that “Children at risk of extra-familial harm receive excellent support and services in Westminster. Protecting children and supporting their families are at the heart of a whole-council, partnership and community-based approach.”
Councillor Catherine Faulks, Lead Member of Kensington and Chelsea Council for Family and Children’s Services, said:
“This plan will make sure all of us working at the Council to support the lives of our children, young people and families have the same objectives, goals and challenges in mind. I want to pass on a special thanks to all the young people who helped us understand how we can be the best Council for them.”
Councillor Tim Roca, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council and Cabinet Member for Young People, Learning and Leisure, said:
“I am proud to launch the new Bi-Borough Children and Young People’s Plan which will guide our work over the next three years. Children and young people are currently facing huge pressures, with the global pandemic disrupting their education and the rising cost of living causing uncertainty and anxiety. This feels like the right time to set out our priorities and ambitions for the future of Children’s Services and define how we will improve outcomes for young people across both boroughs.
“Importantly, this plan has been developed in collaboration with young people, who have shared their concerns, aspirations and priorities with us. We will continue to work with them to ensure every child has access to a great education and the best possible start in life.”
Sarah Newman, Bi-Borough Executive Director for Children’s Services, said:
“While this plan has been produced by officers at the Council, it’s really local young people we have to thank for the breadth and depth it manages to cover as they helped inform it every step of the way. The plan features voice notes shared with us by young people across Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea in which they share their goals for the future and tell us how we can support them to realise their full potential.
“We’re really pleased with our progress over the last few years but as all Children’s Services professionals know, the landscape is forever changing and we must adapt and grow with it to best meet the needs of our local young people and their unique challenges. In this sector, we rely on each other to share our findings to keep improving our offers for young people. In sharing our plan, I hope we can inform and inspire other teams around the country, but also learn from their experiences, and we would welcome feedback and challenges to make sure we keep doing all we can to get it right for young people.”
James Balloqui, Member of the Youth Parliament for Westminster, said:
"I'm pleased to see that young people in Westminster have been heard by the council, the priorities in the Children and Young People's Plan clearly reflect the most pressing issues affecting young people. The Young People of both boroughs are relying on the councils to deliver on these priorities to improve their lives and the lives of those to come."
Read the full Children and Young People’s Plan 2023-26 here:
Published: 25 January 2023