In 2014 the Slough Children and Young People’s Partnership Board (CYPPB) approved the implementation of an elected Youth Parliament for Slough. Building on the existing Youth Cabinet, which was made up of young people nominated to sit on the group, the CYPPB was keen for young people in Slough to have a truly representative group, democratically chosen by young people, which was able to influence decision making across the town. The Young People’s Service was charged with taking this forward as part of the wider Youth Voice agenda and worked closely with schools to implement the borough’s first elected Youth Parliament in January 2015.
“We are very proud of the parliament’s achievements and believe you have made significant progress towards a genuine youth voice for the Slough community”
- Jo Rockall, SASH, April 2016
Using the first past the post system, the two candidates with the highest number of votes at each school become Members of Slough Youth Parliament (SYP) for a two year term. Each participating school was an election ward, and held elections, where every student was able to vote.
The most recent SYP elections took place in January 2019 with participation from 19 local secondary schools and more than 130 candidates. The election resulted in 8011 young people voting for their youth representatives and the average turnout for the borough was 75 percent.
Slough’s new Youth Parliament is currently made up of 40 young people aged 12-19. As well as the members elected through schools and colleges, representatives also come from ‘co-opted’ groups from under represented young people. This includes lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender young people, service users, young carers and care leavers.
“Being in the Slough Youth parliament was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life, I have learnt and gained so much over my 2 years.”
- Awab Ali, Youth Rep from Wexham School, March 2017
The whole Youth Parliament meets bi-monthly, and usually host guest speakers from partner agencies to inform discussion and decision around pertinent issues. In addition to their meetings, youth representatives participate in a range of training and enrichment activities including volunteering at community events, membership of community forums and strategic boards and attending away days and residentials. Members also have the opportunity to represent Slough on the national stage, for example at British Youth Council conventions, The All Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs, Youth Select Committees and the UK Youth Parliament.
Nationally, In recognition of their campaign efforts in the Make Your Mark consultation, SYP has 3 times been awarded by British Youth Council in Parliament. In 2016, SYP was also shortlisted for a Children and Young People Now, Volunteering and Social Action award. Locally, their campaign efforts have also been recognised at Slough Voluntary Sector awards. In 2017, the group were awarded as runner up for Group of the Year and individual members have been winners and finalists in the Young Volunteer category in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
If you would like to know more about the work of Slough Youth Parliament or discuss the involvement from your school, please contact Young People's Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively call on 01753 875510.