SENIOR MANAGERS DELIVER JUDGEMENT ON OUR CAMPAIGN!
We’ve got it all wrong!
The Children and Young People Daily Bulletin is running a piece on our campaign under the title, ‘Youth Workers launch campaign for a return to core principles’.
Within it Susie Roberts, chief executive of the Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services (formerly Apyco) says our Open Letter does not recognise the positive impact youth work has had in recent years.
She goes on: “The argument needs to focus on promoting youth work, and be more explicit about the outcomes of youth work intervention. We don’t need to be defensive because most people now recognise the contribution youth workers make in young people’s lives.
“For years youth services have appointed young people in senior positions,” adds Roberts. “This model is now being implemented across the public sector. We have impacted hugely on institutions across the country. This is something we should be proud to promote.”
I must confess to being bemused by the statement about young people being appointed to senior positions, but no matter. I’ve posted the following comment on the site.
I’ll begin by thanking Janaki for drawing attention to our ‘In Defence of Youth Work’ campaign. If readers want to know more we have created a website to keep folk abreast of developments at http://indefenceofyouthwork.wordpress.com.
As for Susie Robert’s criticisms we are very much open to a serious debate. Indeed we would welcome a thoughtful and even self-critical response from the Confederation to the contradictions and dilemmas of being a Senior Manager in the New Labour decade. I may be past my sell-by date, but I do know a little about the profound contradictions of being a so-called Chief Officer. Are we to believe that the Confederation simply glows with pride at its imposition of New Labour’s spurious, predictable outcomes-led agenda; that its members believe that their impact upon institutions across the country has been without doubt in the service of democratic and emancipatory youth work ‘on the side of young people; that they don’t have a reservation here and there about the present state of affairs?
Our position is plain. A critical, questioning, unpredictable Youth Work practice has been damaged deeply by the last decade and more of ‘new managerialism’. Our position is supported by the analyses of some of the most committed thinkers and practitioners of the last 30 years – from Bernard Davies through Jeffs and Smith to Janet Batsleer and Carol Packham.
Of course, in accord with Bertrand Russell, we maintain our conclusions with doubt. But if we are to be put right, we expect more than a sound-bite from our superiors. We look forward to the Confederation’s defence of what it considers to be Youth Work.
If the mood takes you, it would be useful to post your responses on the CPYN site. It would be brilliant to generate a wider debate, alongside creating more publicity for the Campaign.