1.6 Evidence-based youth policy
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Evidence-based youth policy principles were adopted within the framework of Recommendations for the organization and evaluation of the activities of municipal youth councils (2019). The main principles of youth council activities that should be followed are:
- evidence-based youth policies - decisions are taken on the basis of available facts and sound knowledge;
- transparency and openness - the youth and the public of the municipality are regularly informed about the activities of the SJRT and its organization, and the discussion of issues relevant to young people.
- active involvement - young people and other stakeholders are involved and actively participate in the discussion, decision-making and implementation of decisions about the programs and measures implemented in the municipality;
- active interest - representatives seconded to the youth councils are interested in the implementation of youth policy, have or seek to gain knowledge and experience in various areas of youth policy implementation;
- appropriate representation - Representatives of the coulcils represent various fields of activity related to the implementation of youth policy, representatives of youth - various groups of young people, and issues related to youth are always addressed in coordination with young people, representatives of youth organizations;
- communication and co-operation - municipal institutions, establishments and organizations communicate and co-operate with each other in solving youth issues, inter-agency and inter-institutional networking is encouraged;
- efficiency and effectiveness - measures and programs implemented for young people are focused on quality and change;
National Youth Policy Development programme (2011-2019) strives towards inter-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation in developing a coherent, evidence-and knowledge-based youth policy. All 60 Lithuanian municipalities have prepared long-term (2013 – 2018) strategic documents on youth policy followed by medium-term (2013-2015) action plans and monitoring and control systems for their implementation. These plans include information and data collection: analysis of documents (municipal strategic documents, youth programs / conceptions, researches of youth related issues in municipalities, quality assessments of municipal youth policy, etc.), events (discussions, meetings etc.), analysis of good practice. Plans and action plans also include assessment criteria for each of long-term aims based on data collection and analysis of youth indicators such as 1) part of young people (14–29 years), participating in the activities offered by open youth centers and spaces (% of overall number of young people in a municipality); 2) official rate of youth unemployment; 3) share of municipality budget allocated for development of recreational infrastructure per young person (1 – 29 years) living in a municipality; 4) share of municipality budget allocated for implementation of youth policy through grants for youth projects per young person (14 – 29 years) living in a municipality; and measures (number of newly established open youth spaces in local neighborhoods, ensuring their even distribution in the area; annually organised youth entrepreneurship contest to support youth business ideas; number of sports grounds, organised and newly equipped; annually organised training for members of the council for youth affairs; numbers of established youth leadership clubs.
In general, youth activities and activities of Youth organisations in Lithuania are remarkably well documented and presented. Institutionalised and regular cooperation between the ministry responsible for youth and the youth research community is common practice. They present a consistent analysis of the background situation and define the approach of each relevant organisation to it. Each ministry provides reports and all necessary information. The following activities are implemented in order to form and implement evidence and knowledge-based youth policy on national and local levels: youth issues related national research and quality assessment of youth policy implementation on national level and in municipalities, analysis of cross-sectorial cooperation in the field of youth policy. The Department of Youth Affairs performs periodical youth situation research in Lithuania. One of the key objectives of such research is to analyse to what extent youth is distinguished as a part of society as well as perceived as a distinctive social group. The objective is also to find out the problems of youth, activity of youth in society, moral values or young people, as well as general assessment of situation in Lithuania. For more iformation on evidence based youth policy see youth situation research section on the Department of Youth Affairs website. With the view of conceptual changes in compiling and systemizing information on youth as well as making timely decisions, to solve youth problems the Department of Youth Affairs cooperates with universities in the field of research on youth. Compilation of information and performance of analyses are annually carried out for the European Commission as to implementation of priorities, raised in the field of the EU youth policy ES (involvement and information of youth, voluntariness, and better knowledge of youth), in Lithuania. The Department of Youth Affairs is engaged in the activities of the European Knowledge Center for Youth Policy (EKCYP). EKCYP is continually furnished with updated information on the national youth policy in cooperation with the state and other institutions, non-governmental youth organizations and other entities working with youth. Youth Affairs Researchers’ Network is an informal structure, composed of higher education institutions, private institutions, youth policy makers, non-governmental youth organizations, public authorities responsible for the implementation of youth policy, representatives of other interested youth policy actors. The Youth Affairs Researchers’ Network also includes researchers and academics from universities and research institutions. Members of the Youth Affairs Researchers’ Network are invited to speak and express their opinions in meetings and conferences, policy evaluations and expert group meetings.
Lithuanian statistics periodically collects statistics of Youth of Lithuania demographic and social characteristics. Statistics Lithuania in cooperation with researchs institutes and universities also publishes thematic publications with official statistics and analysis. The Statistical Portrait of the Youth in Lithuania between 2005 and 2014 contains the main official statistics, such as the number of young people by age and sex, their marriage, divorce, employment, education, standard of living, health, and crime indicators. Detailed information on youth data and research is also provided on the Department of Youth Affairs website where all information on youth research and available data is published. The Department of Youth Affairs systemises research reports and data available. Their website section contains links to sources of information on youth research done by various bodies: research institutes, universities, commissioned research by different governmental and non-governmental organizations in Lithuania. The data is available since 2004 and is continuously updated. Department of Youth Affairs regularly commissions youth situation research. Specific data on NEETs is collected quarterly by regional youth coordinators in municipalities and reported to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. There also exists specific youth guarantee implementation monitoring system and data collection framework coordinated by Lithuanian Labour Exchange.
Budgetary allocations by Ministry of Social Security and Labour supporting research in the youth field are demand-driven i.e. data is collected by commissioning ad-hoc research addressing specific youth problems. Specific youth guarantee implementation monitoring system and data collection framework is coordinated by Lithuanian Labour Exchange.