The Children’s Society recently published ‘The Good Childhood Report 2019‘ and it’s a fascinating read. It’s the eighth edition of their annual report and summarises their studies of the state of the well-being of children in the UK. The report is informed through a research partnership with the University of York and was initiated to ensure that the voices of young people are given a platform and the opportunity to influence public debates about their well-being – with 67,000 young people having been engaged.

Key points I’ve interpreted from the report:

  • Since 2010/11, there has been a steady decrease in how happy children are with life as a whole;
  • Happiness with friends and school is at the lowest level since 2009/10;
  • No significant changes in happiness with family, schoolwork and appearance over the last 10 years;
  • When considering their futures, children are most concerned about having enough money, finding employment and getting good grades – with existing but lesser concerns in relation to mental and physical health;
  • In relation to broader societal challenges, children are most concerned about crime, the environment, cyber-related matters and homelessness.

The report makes some interesting policy recommendations that support my own view that there is no one answer to securing brighter futures for generations to come. Our fragmented approach to delivering the services that young people require of society is lessening the potential combined impact on their wellbeing. We need collaboration.

I see great opportunity for public sector, private sector and third sector organisations to increase their collaboration, focused on specific outcomes, and radically improve the impact on wellbeing of young people.

An interesting article in The Guardian in 2017, clearly positioned that funding cuts have been drastically impacting the delivery of vital services for young people; also citing the Casey Review. The article called for “real leadership, more collaboration and efficient spending” in order to change this trend – but I’m not sure we’ve seen this happen; certainly in my home County of Merseyside.

We have a great unrealised opportunity to develop much closer collaboration between the bodies, services and organisations serving young people.

Albeit they’ll often be worded differently, these bodies largely have similar objectives – broadly to create bright futures for young people by developing good health and wellbeing, developing life skills, fostering inclusion and integration, tackling key social issues, lessening social exclusion, developing aspirations and enabling choices.

Simple, right. Wrong. But eminently sensible and absolutely doable with a little effort, hard work and focus.

Who’s in?