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Departmental Meetings

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings his Department has held with children since 10 August 2005; what mechanisms have been put in place in Government to study and act on the views of children as a result of the Government’s pledge to do so; what suggestions have been received from children by his Department; and what steps have been taken to implement suggestions made by children. (97131)

Ministers have held a series of meetings with children and young people from 10 August 2005 and I refer the hon. Gentleman to my previous answer on 26 October 2006, Official Report, column 2038W.

In relation to mechanisms to study and act on the views of children and young people, we are in the process of establishing a participation network, which will be sited within the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. The aim of the network is offer training and consultancy support to the statutory sector in order to engage directly with children and young people; and develop and promote standards of good practice in relation to child and youth participation. It is intended to have network staff in place by January 2007. In addition, options for taking forward the establishment of a Northern Ireland Network for Youth are being considered as part of the development of RPA proposals. Consultation with young people is currently taking place. Account will be taken of the responses to consultation by the cross-sectoral Youth RPA Project Board, responsible for developing proposals for the establishment of the Northern Ireland Network for Youth.