Leaders under fire at Question Time

Published: 28 March 2013

More than 60 young people quizzed local police and political leaders at a recent Question-Time style event.

Youth Voice Question Time was the first of a series of feedback sessions building on the success of the Youth Momentum Conference last year.

A wide range of young people took part, including local schoolchildren, people that use the borough's youth centres, 'looked after' children in council care and young offenders.

A panel of senior decision makers included leader of the council Ravi Govindia, borough police commander David Chinchen, cabinet member for children's services Cllr Kathy Tracey, leader of the opposition Cllr Rex Osborn and chairman of the Wandsworth Youth Council (WYC) Marc Dataro.

They were put on the spot by a stream of questions covering everything from crime, gangs and unemployment to how local budgets are spent.

The event was organised by the Wandsworth Youth Council. The WYC was set up by council's Youth Services department. and has in recent years established itself as a key forum for consulting and involving young people in decisions about council services.

It meets regularly and develops campaigns, feeds into council decision-making processes, organises events, manages the Youth Opportunity Fund grant scheme and runs projects such as the Wandsworth Young Inspectors, who inspect council services and give feedback from a young person's point of view.

Cllr Govindia said:

"I was hugely impressed by the high standard of the questions asked, and the confidence and passion of the young people that took part - they really put us on the spot at times!

"It's encouraging that our young people are taking an interest in their local community, and that's something we want to build on to help make local neighbourhoods even better. Raising the aspirations of young people and increasing their choices and opportunities is a key aim for the council." 

Wandsworth has relaunched its website for young people, full of information and advice on issues that affect them, and ideas about things to do. Visit http://youth.wandsworth.gov.uk.

The pictures show Marc Dataro and Cllr Govindia at the event, and Alex Godfrey Strowbridge, Tia-Marie Trowers and Muirward Layla from the Wandsworth Youth Council who helped organise it. High-res versions are available on the council's Flickr stream.