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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.2 Administration and governance of youth work

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 28/12/2020 - 13:27

On this page
  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation



Main actors

There is no single minister or governmental department that is responsible for youth work policy. However, responsibility for general youth policy is distributed across various government departments, including those of Education and Health and Social Care. The Office for Civil Society within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does, however, have specific responsibility for supporting youth policy. For more information, please see the chapter on Youth Policy Governance.

Local authorities, of which there are 150 in England, have a statutory duty to secure sufficient services and activities for young people aged 13-19 (and those with learning difficulties to age 24) and to improve their well-being.

The National Youth Agency (NYA) describes itself as the national body for youth work. Although it no longer receives government funding, and operates as a charity, it is recognised as a leading source of information and expertise in England on youth policy and youth work. It trains youth workers, sets occupational standards, conducts important research on youth work, and works with policy makers, educators, and employers to champion and celebrate youth work.

General distribution of responsibilities

Local authorities are responsible for securing youth work in their areas. This duty is placed on local authorities under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 which seeks to promote the well-being of persons aged 13-19 (or up to 24 years for those with learning difficulties) by securing access for them to sufficient educational and recreational leisure-time activities and facilities so far as is reasonably practicable. Each local authority is required to develop a plan which covers all provision for children and young people and shows how it meets government priorities.

Local authorities also have a duty to:

  • Secure access to sufficient youth work activities;
  • Ascertain young people's views on positive activities;
  • Publicise positive activities.


Cross-sectoral cooperation 

There are no established frameworks for ensuring cross-sectoral cooperation in England.