Council strikes gold

A COUNCIL service has received national recognition for listening and acting on the views of young people.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Integrated Youth Support Service (IYSS) is celebrating after achieving Gold Level in the Hear By Right Awards

The town council is only the third local authority in the country to achieve the status with the National Youth Agency, an independent charity which advises the Government and other agencies on policies relating to young people.

The accolade is said to be in recognition of the IYSS’s commitment to listen to and act on the views of young people and involve them in its decision-making processes.

The award assessors said: “Hartlepool IYSS has a strong commitment to participation throughout its service planning and delivery.

“The commitment of staff, particularly in the senior management roles, is a driving force that is continuing to challenge not only the practices of the IYSS but of partner organisations as well.

“All together this picture is that of an organisation committed to recognising young people’s right to have an impact on the decisions that affect them and is a positive example to other local authorities.”

Mark Smith, the council’s head of integrated youth support services, said that despite budget cuts, the council is continuing to invest in young people to “ensure they are involved in shaping the services and decisions that affect them”.

He added: “Our continuing emphasis on young people’s participation has enabled us to design and deliver services which remain relevant to local young people and acknowledges their fundamental right to have a voice in the decisions that affect them.”

Hartlepool Youth Parliament member Hannah Bew, 14, was among the young people interviewed by the award assessors.

She said: “I think that winning this award will prove to everyone that the young people of Hartlepool are listened to by adults and youth workers and because of this young people are able to make a positive difference to the town.”