The Young Inspectors programme is based on a national programme called You’re Welcome, which was set up many years ago to ensure that young people had a voice about the health services that they can access.
The Young Inspectors programme, which Youth & Connexions have purchased the license for, encompasses all services that young people can access, and not just health.
Young people are recruited and trained to explore different services, how they can access them, how staff should treat them, what confidentiality implies, and publicity for the service for example. They then either mystery shop the service (i.e. anonymous evaluation) or do a known shop (where the service provider knows that the young person is evaluating them). This can be a telephone evaluation or visit to the place in person. In all cases, young people are provided with an agreed scenario (to ensure that they are not given any medication or have to undergo any treatment) and an evaluation form to complete.
Services are also involved in the process as they are encouraged to do a self-evaluation, and are notified of a period of time during young people’s visits. A report is then written based on young people’s feedback and shared with relevant stakeholders. Then meetings are arranged for young people to have the opportunity to give service providers face-to-face feedback and recommendation. One of the crucial aims is for young people’s views to be taken into consideration for service improvement as well as raising awareness.
The first project focused on sexual health services. Fourteen young people took part. The youth mayor of Ealing, Yasmin Rufo was one of them; she concluded saying being a “Youth inspector is a great opportunity. To be able to inspect services which work day to day with young people, it helps you build up a range of skills and allows you to experience different services in Ealing.”
One of the main people who encouraged and engaged more young people into youth inspecting was Sonita Pobi, Heath Improvement officer. She believes that “The programme is a good opportunity for young people to access services that they may not have thought of before, let alone accessed, and also for them to be involved in service development.” She and her team of youth inspectors hope to make significant changes by improving services and educating more young people on the importance of having good services in the community.
One volunteer proudly stated “I love it and I am glad I am part of a project that improves public services for young people. He continued “It gets us involved with the community but also helps us realise that there is help out there that are youth friendly.”
Do you want to be the next youth inspector? And want to take on an important role which helps improve your community? Then, why not join…
For further information contact Sonita Pobi - SPobi@ealing.gov.uk or Gemma Benton, Participation worker, Ealing Youth and Connexions - firstname.lastname@example.org