Is your council prioritising positive activities?

Thanks to Nick Booth for a pointer to this website where you can see which of the 198 National Indicators that central government sets for Local Authorities your council has chosen to focus on. Local Authorities have each had to choose 35 priority indicators that their performance will be measured against.

As Nick points out, the site isn't anywhere near as user friendly as it could be, but it does let me link to specific indicators. So, take a look at see:

There are a number of other indicators that apply to young people – and you can either search on the Local Indicators Site to see which 35 indicators your local authority is focussed on, or you can put put the three digit indicator number (i.e. 001 for #1, 078 for 78 or 112 for #112) at the end of this URL:

I'll try and put together a comprehensive list & mash-up of the data if time allows next week

Consultation games in the real world

I've explored the role of games in consultation before, but never bringing together the mix of playful real-world games, person-to-person interaction, and digital consultation and dialogue in quite the way that the process Kevin Harris describes in this recent blog post on 'Community engagement by treasure hunt'.

Kevin combined a quiz-book based treasure hunt around the site of the library due to be redeveloped with opportunities to speak to architects, chances to text-in ideas and an invitation to record reflections in the quiz-book. Kevin writes:

A key advantage of the treasure hunt was that it avoided those inactive ‘pools’ and conceptual congestion that you can get, where people stand around repeating the same points based on their own advance agenda. We have tried in the consultation exercises so far to be clear about what is negotiable and what is not, to avoid the risk that people get frustrated asking for something that is not on offer for whatever reason.

Another point is to see it more in terms of engagement than consultation. The exercise was only partially about the latter and we hold no presumptions about the depth of comment to be found in the eBooks and certainly not in the SMS exercise. These devices and processes are part of the mix of engagement which goes on and hopefully will strengthen and bear fruit

The whole excercise looks like a brilliant exercise in creative and playful consultation, building the constraints of a process in from the start, and equipping people with ongoing tools for future dialogue.

I'll certainly be looking at how I can learn from this sort of creative consultation in future.

(eBook image from Kevin's blog)

2gether08: calling youth workers with a digital vision

Update: The session has been accepted onto the schedule for the event. So if you have a youth work background and were thinking of coming along then it would be absolutely great to see you there (and to have your input). See the 2gether website for booking info on 2-day and day tickets.

[Summary: seeking youth workers and young people interested in developing ideas at 2gether 08 on an innovation lab for youth work and digital technologies]


I've just been putting together a pitch for a session at the 2gether 08 social innovation event. 2gether describes itself as:

A festival of ideas and action. On July 2-3 in London more than 300 people will gather to explore how digital technologies can bring us major social benefits.

The festival organisers have invited participants to suggest ideas for sessions and conversations at the event, and I've suggested a session called:

Towards an innovation lab for youth work 2.0 Informal education and work with young people in a digital age

Here's what I've put down as the session objective:

To sketch out what an innovation lab for youth work and informal education might look like.


Young people (13 – 18) face more challenging transitions and challenging environments in their lives than ever before. Youth work should be there supporting young people's personal and social development in the digital realm, and using digital tools. This session is about creating a vision, and identifying next steps, to bring greater use of social technology into work with young people outside of school settings.

The session will involve some inputs about current youth work challenges (video/stories etc.) and will facilitate idea exploration around youth work 2.0.

It would be great to see this help in the development of some sort of Futurelab for Youth Work. However, if this sessions does get the green light in some form, I'm going to need some help. I'm not, after all, a youth worker. After spending the last six-months spending time in youth centers and with youth workers I'm convinced that, when it's well resourced and supported, youth work has an amazing amount to offer. But for a youth work innovation lab to really work it's going to need both young people and youth workers directly involved – those who understand the territory from working in it every day.

So – if you're interested in exploring youth work 2.0, you could spare some time on the 2nd or 3rd of July, and could get yourself along to 2gether 08 – get in touch and lets see what ideas we can weave into, and bring out of, this rather innovative looking festival…

I've started a thread over on the UK Youth Online network for anyone interested in exploring this more, even if you can't make it along to 2gether (or this pitch doesn't end up in the final festival…).

Creating the UK Youth Online network

200806071439.jpgI've been looking for a while for a space where all the conversations around work with young people and new technologies/social media/web 2.0 can come together.

I've not found it. So I've set one up.

So – if you're interested in exploring what social media means for youth services, participation projects, IAG, or any other organisations providing support, advice and activities to young people – do come and join us over on the UK Youth Online Ning network.

You can create your own profile, find others with shared interests, post questions and share your learning.

And if you're on a local authority network and you find you can't access this site because of a web filter, do get in touch and we'll see what we can do to get the block lifted…



Who is there already?

Visit UK Youth Online

Video Change: online video for campaigners

Find more videos like this on Video Change


Sometime last year on the way to an Oxfam Youth Board residential I scribbled down a back-of-the-envelope idea for running an online learning journey for campaigners on using social media tools in their local campaigning.

The idea progressed from envelope to project proposal, moved to a focus on online video and morphed into a project plan.

And in a couple of weeks – the project moves from project plan, to actual project. The actual project is taking the form of a six-week 'course' going by the name of Video Change – one topic and task each week relating to creating, sharing and campaigning with online video. We'll be using a Ning network to bring together the participants and run the project – and hopefully by the end of it we should have some pretty nifty video clips to contribute to Oxfam's soon-to-be-launched Sisters on the Planet campaign.

Video Change is for beginners and experienced video makers and social media people alike – so if you're interested in the issues Oxfam campaigns on and in exploring video for social change – then do sign up to take part.

And if you want a bit more a sense of what it's all about – then you can check out my first attempt at a video for the project above.