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 second SYP elections took place in January 2017 with participation from 17 local secondary schools and 96 candidates. The election resulted in 8018 young people voting for their youth representatives and the average turnout for the borough was 78 percent.
Slough’s new Youth Parliament is currently made up of 33 elected young people aged 12-19. As well as the members elected through schools and colleges, 4 representatives 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 monthly, and usually host guest speakers from partner agencies to inform discussion and decision around pertinent issues. In addition to their monthly 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.
In recognition of their campaign efforts on behalf of the Youth Parliament, SYP members have won the Young Volunteer of the Year award at Slough Voluntary Sector awards in both 2015 and 2016 (prior to the awards inclusion in Slough Youth Awards). In 2016, SYP was also shortlisted for a Children and Young People Now, Volunteering and Social Action award and in 2017 were awarded as runner up for Group of the Year at Slough Voluntary Sector awards.
The next SYP elections are due to take place across Slough secondary schools in January 2019, with awareness raising starting from October 2018. If you would like to know more about the work of Slough Youth Parliament or discuss the involvement from your school, please contact Giovanni Ferri by emailing Giovanni.Ferri@slough.gov.uk or alternatively call on 01753 875510.