Children and young people's participation

Participation is when children and young people:

  • take part and express themselves in decisions or issues that affect their lives
  • are listened to, understood and their view is taken into account

It is important that children and young people who use our services have the space to:

  • express themselves
  • feel actively involved
  • feel listened to
  • feel able to influence decisions that affect them

Participation groups

We run the following participation groups for children and young people Lancashire:

  • POWAR - a group for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). POWAR stands for: Participate, Opportunity, Win, Achieve and Respect
  • LINX Children in Care Council - a group for children and young people aged 8 to 17 with care experience. It stands for Listen, Involve, Negotiate, Xpress.
  • Lancashire Care Leaver Forum is a group for young people who are care experienced, aged 18-25 years, from Lancashire or living in Lancashire.
  • Lancashire Youth Council is for children and young people aged 12 to 19 years (up to 25 years with special educational needs or disability). It is an opportunity to get involved and have their say about things that affect them and their friends, and be listened to.

Requests to work with children and young people

If you have a request to work with any of our participation groups, you will need to complete a young people participation request.

We ask you do this for any request, no matter how big or small. The Participation Team within Targeted Youth Support will then respond to you with feedback from children and young people, confirm if they agree to the request and make arrangements to move forward.

This helps the children and young people involved have a fuller picture of what you'd like to achieve and helps you think about the project you have in mind alongside our adopted model of Participation (the Lundy Model). For further details of this, please see our full strategy below.

The benefits of participation

Benefits for you

  • Build your confidence and self-esteem through being valued and appreciated
  • Learn and develop your skills in problem-solving, communication and planning that will help you in the future
  • Help keep you safe, as it increases trust and confidence that your voice matters and adults will listen to you
  • Make new friends and meet different people
  • See the difference you make in the community

Benefits for us

  • We create services that are better at meeting your needs
  • Contributes to building more effective, relevant and long-lasting public services
  • It challenges us to make how we work more inclusive
  • Strengthens accountability and being clear about what can and can’t be achieved

How we encourage participation

We need to make sure that we are supporting children and young people to participate in a meaningful way, and not saying one thing and doing something different.

The model for participation we have chosen to use was devised by Professor Laura Lundy. Lundy's model breaks participation down into 4 elements:

Space: Children must be given safe, inclusive opportunities to form and express their view.

Voice: Children must be given the help they need to express their view.

Audience: The view must be listened to.

Influence: The view must be acted upon, as appropriate.

You can find out more about this in our participation strategy.

Our participation strategy

We have a Children and Young People's Participation Strategy.

This strategy is for children, young people, families and all services within Lancashire County Council. But it is particularly for people that work directly with you, like our early help and social care teams.

The strategy has been developed with the help of professionals and partners who guide and support our work with children and young people.

Contact us

If you have any questions about participation in Lancashire, please contact:

Information for professionals

Visit the information for professionals for more information including learning briefs from the Lancashire Participation Network.