Working with the Participation Team

This page describes the Participation Team’s Terms of Engagement.
It describes how the Participation Team works with services to support Youth Voice projects across the Council.

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The Participation Team works with colleagues and partners in six ways.
You can read more about each of these on the page below.

1. Youth Voice Champions

2. Young people in recruitment

3. Working with our forums

4. Advice and guidance

5. Ongoing partnerships

6. Training

1. The Youth Voice Champions scheme

The Participation Team maintains close working relationships with colleagues across different services through the Youth Voice Champions scheme.
Together, the Participation Team and our Youth Voice Champions:

  • Coordinate and host events and projects
  • Share insight into what young people are saying and experiencing
  • Respond to themes and issues that young people raise
  • Discuss barriers and share learning about impactful engagement

Our ambition is for every young person-facing service in Buckinghamshire Children’s Services to have a representative Youth Voice Champion who we speak with regularly.
You can find out more and see our current list of Children’s Services Champions on the Youth Voice Champions page.

Youth Voice Champions page

2. Involving young people in recruitment

The Participation Team coordinates Youth Interview Panels in partnership with hiring managers.

Should I host a Youth Interview Panel? – Guidance for Hiring Managers [coming soon!]

We are working to ensure young people and young people’s priorities are always involved in Children’s Services recruitment decisions.

3. Working with our youth voice forums and events

The Participation Team hosts three established youth forums:

  • The Youth Voice Executive Committee
  • The Care Ambassadors
  • Shout Out for SEND Reps

The young people in these forums volunteer regularly with us, to share their views to help make Buckinghamshire the best place to live and grow up for all young people.

We also host the following annual events:

  • The Bucks Youth Summit (February / March)
  • The Shout Out for SEND conference (November)
  • The Children in Care Celebration Event (August)

We also support the Leaving Care Team’s annual Care Leavers’ Celebration Event.

If you would like to gather the views of a group of young people on a particular topic, the Participation Team may support you to speak with one of these forums or invite you to get involved in one of these events. If this is of interest, please request an advice and guidance slot with us (see below).

4. Advice and guidance

The Participation Team offer 40-minute advice and guidance sessions to support any professional in Buckinghamshire to run youth voice projects of any size / scope as effectively as possible.
For example, we can talk to you about:

  • Brainstorming options for gathering young people’s views on a certain topic / in response to a certain requirement
  • Planning a focus group or one-off event
  • Making a high-quality, effective survey
  • Setting up a Youth Board / Council / Forum
  • Getting young people involved in strategy development, action plans, and commissioning
  • Reflecting on a youth voice project

We also use these slots to coordinate and plan items to be discussed with our established forums, described above.

After your advice and guidance slot, we will email you with notes from the conversation and any agreed actions.

If you would like an advice and guidance session, please email with the subject “Advice and Guidance request – [your team]” and include in the email body a brief description of what you would like to speak about.

We have one advice and guidance slot available per week so please be aware that you may need to wait a few weeks for your slot.

5. Ongoing partnerships

The Participation Team is involved in various Council initiatives, projects, and meetings.
For each of these, we have a Terms of Reference with the project lead that outlines the Participation Team’s involvement, to ensure our contributions are regular and purposeful.
Our current ongoing partnerships are:

  • The Corporate Parenting Panel and its subgroups
  • The SEND improvement plan and the Integrated Services Board
  • The Buckinghamshire Community Boards (via the wider Community Youth Team)

If you would like the Participation Team to become a regular contributor to your project, please email with the subject, “Ongoing partnership request – [name of your project]” and include in the email body the following information:

  • Context of the project
  • What you are hoping the Participation Team will provide
  • Intended timescale for the involvement

We will reply to arrange a meeting with you to discuss the request, whether the team have capacity to support, and the Terms of Reference for the partnership if so.

6. Training

Costs associated with Youth Voice

Youth Voice activities and projects usually incur some costs, for things like:

  • Refreshments
  • Travel reimbursements
  • Thank You vouchers
  • Resources

Bigger projects may also involve paid elements such as:

  • Accreditation
  • Training by an expert facilitator
  • Media expertise – such as videographers, graphic designers, web developers

Where the Participation Team is supporting a project that is for the benefit of a specific service, we expect that the service requesting the project covers the cost.
For example, hiring managers are expected to cover all costs for their youth interview panels.
Expected costs / budgets will be confirmed prior to activities taking place.

For projects owned by the Participation Team, such as established forums, the Participation Team will cover costs.

In some cases, such as events for young people planned and hosted in partnership, the costs may be shared between teams.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can you host a focus group for me?
    We are happy to work in partnership with colleagues to run one-off focus groups and short-term projects through the Youth Voice Champions scheme.
    We may also be able to arrange a slot for you with one of our established youth forums or events, so that you can gather young people’s views directly.
    For colleagues and partners who are not part of our Youth Voice Champions scheme, we are happy to support you with advice and guidance but we cannot run activities for you.
  • Can you help me get the word out about this opportunity / event / campaign? 
    We are happy to host information about youth voice opportunities that you are running on the Youth Voice Bucks homepage, provided your project follows the Youth Participation Strategy’s three rules of engagement.
    Regarding more general activities / opportunities / information for young people, we can share information with the young people who regularly volunteer with our forums, if it is appropriate to do so. Please note that this is currently approximately 60 young people.
  • Can you run a survey for me?
    We encourage colleagues and partners to think creatively when it comes to gathering young people’s views and think carefully about whether a survey is the right way to do this on a case-by-case basis.
    If it is, we are happy to work in partnership with colleagues to develop surveys through the Youth Voice Champions scheme. We cannot, however, promote these for you.
    For colleagues and partners who are not part of our Youth Voice Champions scheme, we can support you with advice and guidance but we cannot create and run a survey for you.
  • Can you bring a young person to my event / steering group / meeting?
    Most adult spaces are not very accessible to young people, and we generally advocate for adults to go to young people, rather than asking young people to come into adult spaces.
    That said, events, steering groups and meetings can be powerful tools for making decisions and bringing about positive change, and young people’s voices within them can be extremely valuable. If done well, bringing a young person into an event / steering group / meeting can also be a positive, useful experience for the young person.
    If you would like to have a young person involved in your event / steering group / meeting, please book an advice and guidance session with us as soon as possible so that we can discuss whether this will be feasible and measures we can put in place together to ensure the experience is accessible and enjoyable for any young person that gets involved.

Any questions?

Please feel free to contact us.

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