Takeover Challenge 2016

23 November 2016

31 young people from Hertfordshire got a valuable insight into Hertfordshire County Council and other local public organisations thanks to the annual Takeover Challenge – a national initiative led by the Children’s Commissioner.

The Takeover Challenge is coordinated locally by Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions, and last year, the County Council was awarded a gold commendation for its work in involving young people across the county in Takeover Challenge.

Chief Executive John Wood meeting young people during Takeover Challenge

The aim of the day is to develop the way in which the voice of young people in Hertfordshire is heard by those who make decisions about the services affecting them. It also gives young people an insight into the various roles and decision-making processes across different organisations.

This year, 31 young people took part including young carers, children in care, young people with additional needs, and members of Herts1125 including Young Commissioners and the LGBT+ strategic group Who Not What.

They were paired up with senior officers from services including Directors and Deputy/Assistant Directors from Children’s Services, Herts County Council Corporate Policy Team as well as the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hertfordshire Constabulary, the NHS Hertfordshire Community Trust and Herts Valley and East North Herts Clinical Commissioning Groups. Young People also attended the annual Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board Conference.

Other young people met with Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council John Wood, and Executive Member for Children’s services, Councillor Richard Roberts, and took the opportunity to ask how young people’s views were being considered when key decisions were being made; what new things were on the horizon in the coming months and how he prioritises his work.

Councillor Roberts said: “Takeover Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get a real insight into local decision making. But it is also an opportunity for us all to listen to young people’s feedback on the issues affecting them and take this into consideration when making plans for the future.”

Daniella, aged 16, from Broxbourne took part in the day. She said: “I have really enjoyed it and have learnt a lot about all of the different things the council does for different parts of the community. I would recommend this to everyone and will definitely be getting more involved now.”

Emilia, aged 16, also from Broxbourne, said: “It gets you to think more widely about the community and how different decisions may affect everyone.”

Pamela, 19, from Welwyn, said: “More young people should do this. You don’t realise what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s made me want to volunteer in the community more.”

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