On Wednesday, Harpenden Town Council’s Corporate Policy & Finance Committee passed a formal Youth Engagement Policy. This Policy builds on existing informal practices and ensures that young people’s views are taken into account by the Town Council. Focussing on engaging young people in the Town’s projects and events, the Policy commits the Council to continually review and improve the way in which it communicates with young people.
The Policy was drafted by the Town Council’s Youth Engagement Working Group, which was first established in 2020.
Harpenden South Town Councillor Matt Cowley, who at 23 is the Council’s youngest elected member and was Chairman of the Working Group, said, “Since I was first elected in May 2019, one of my main priorities has been working to ensure that the Town Council is effectively communicating with and including all groups in its activities. As a young person in politics, I have always thought that it is important that Councils seek to ensure that young people feel included and able to make their opinions heard.
That’s why I am very pleased that this broad-ranging Policy has been adopted by the Council. The new Policy commits the Town Council to developing improved communications to ensure that young people know what is going on in the Town and to a continual survey, so that we are always taking young people’s views into account. One thing that is always important with any new policy like this is to ensure that it makes a practicable difference to people, and so I strongly pushed for measures within the Policy which allow for both continual review and democratic accountability.
I hope that young people in Harpenden know that the Town Council does care about their views and that this policy goes some way to giving them a greater platform to express them. I will continue to work hard to ensure that we deliver people’s local priorities.”