1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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Youth policy decision-making takes place at national level. The top-level authority is the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the subordinated department of youth. The Ministry supports 12 out of 15 full-time positions in the department of youth. In the youth department of the Ministry, around 12 full-time positions are funded by the Ministry. The department coordinates governmental action on behalf of youth and, thus, takes the cross-sectorial character of youth policy into account. Youth policy decision-making is guided by three strategic orientations: participatory, transversal and evidence-based. They are implemented by (see Residori et al., 2015):
- The interdepartmental committee for youth (Comité interministériel de la Jeunesse), which is composed of representatives of all other ministries; it is the coordinating authority within the implementation process of transversal youth policy
- The Higher council for Youth (Conseil Supérieur de la Jeunesse) is composed of 19 representatives of several organisations and administrations that are concerned with youth issues (including eight representatives of youth organisations, four representatives of youth services, four representatives of organisations which work on behalf of young people, two representatives of pupils and students, one representative of Syvicol, one representative of the National Assembly of Young People, one representative of the ministry in charge of youth policy and one representative of youth research) (2015 grand-ducal regulation on youth, Art. 1)
- The Youth Report is an empirical documentation which is produced every five years by a research group at the University of Luxembourg; it delivers important evidence for the development of the national youth strategy
- The national structured dialogue aims at enhancing the communication mechanism between the government and the young people of Luxembourg: the youth parliament (composed of young citizens) and the additional national youth council (composed of representatives of youth organisations) represent the main bodies of the structured dialogue. (see: 5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making).
Municipalities also play an important role, as they get financial support from the state for investing in buildings and equipment for young people. Financial support requires the realisation of a Municipal Youth Plan, which includes the active participation of young people (2008 Youth Law, Art. 17 &19). Most municipalities have a deputy in charge of youth issues (échevin communal) and a Youth Commission, a board that represents youth interests in the municipality. The Youth Commission serves in an advisory capacity but is not a legislative authority.
The choice of these themes is the result of the findings of the national report on the situation of young people in Luxembourg and a large counselling process that involves different ministries, the young people themselves, the National Assembly of Young People, youth organisations and youth services working with young people or on their behalf.
The National Youth Service, founded in 1984, is the national agency for youth in Luxembourg. As a public administration placed under the authority of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, it contributes to the implementation of youth policy. It is a point of contact, information, counselling and support for young people and actors in the field of youth work.
The main tasks of the National Youth Service, as defined by the revised 2016 Youth Law, are to:
- Organise an equipment lending service, provide locations, fund educational projects and manage the leave for youth workers (congé jeunesse)
- Organise and coordinate training for assistant facilitators (aide-animateurs), facilitators (animateurs) and managers of youth organisations
- Manage, control and coordinate the reception of youth working as au pair in Luxembourg and abroad and promote European and international exchange between young people and between actors working with children and youth
- Manage and run specialised educational centres whose mission is to develop, implement and disseminate concepts and non-formal education programmes
- Coordinate voluntary service programmes and develop projects promoting the participation of children and youths in economic, social and cultural life
- Support the training of professionals working with children or youth and prepare educational materials to work with children and youth
- Monitor educational quality in education and care services for children with parental assistants and in youth services
- Contribute to the implementation of national, European and international programmes and agreements in support of children and youth (e.g. Erasmus+)
- Contribute to the development of municipal or intermunicipal youth plans.
According to the 2016 grand-ducal regulation, the National Youth Service is subdivided into five organisational units:
- Training and support of educational projects
- Educational centres
- Support for school-to-work transitions
- Quality development.
The SNJ employs around 200 permanent collaborators as well as 450 external ones. It offers about 2 000 activities for 40 000 participants and 200 trainings for 3 000 participants every year.
With the 2017 law, the tasks of the National Youth Service have been enlarged. Today, the National Youth Service is also in charge of supporting young people in their transition to the world of work. It must set up a network of local services whose mission is to support young people in their transition to active life by providing information, advice and individual support, as well as preparatory activities for working life. It is also required to offer extra-curricular activities for secondary schools, with a view to maintaining school attendance and ensuring the follow-up of school leavers. Furthermore, the National Youth Service is in charge of supervising the quality of pedagogical work with children and youth in institutions providing non-formal education (e.g. child care, youth work).
Policy monitoring and evaluation
There are no mechanisms for regular and systematic assessment policy measures and programmes with respect to their intended objectives on a periodic and systematic way. However, the Youth Report provides a scientific analysis every five years and gives an overview of the situation of young people. Although the main objective of the report is to define challenges of youth policy and to deliver evidence for the development of the Youth Pact, it is also an instrument to monitor policy measures and programmes since it puts emphasis not only on the empirical description of the situation of young people but also on the policy context. There are also ad hoc evaluations, such as the 2012 Youth Pact assessment which evaluates the implementation of the Youth Pact as an instrument to foster cross-sectoral policy.