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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.3 Support to youth work

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 28/12/2020 - 13:30

On this page
  1. Policy legal framework
  2. Funding
  3. Cooperation


Policy/legal framework 

As described in the article ‘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.

Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities on Services and Activities to Improve Young People’s Well-being (Department for Education, 2012) lists the youth work and other services that local authorities should provide (so far as they are practically able) to improve the well-being of young people. This includes youth work and other activities that:

  • Connect young people with their communities, enabling them to belong and contribute to society, including through volunteering, and supporting them to have a voice in decisions which affect their lives;
  • Offer young people opportunities in safe environments to take part in a wide range of sports, arts, music and other activities, through which they can develop a strong sense of belonging, socialise safely with their peers, enjoy social mixing, experience spending time with older people, and develop relationships with adults they trust;
  • Support the personal and social development of young people through which they build the capabilities they need for learning, work, and the transition to adulthood – communication, confidence and agency, creativity, managing feelings, planning and problem solving, relationships and leadership, and resilience and determination;
  • Improve young people’s physical and mental health and emotional well-being
  • Help those young people at risk of dropping out of learning or not achieving their full potential to engage and attain in education or training;
  • Raise young people’s aspirations, build their resilience, and inform their decisions – and thereby reducing teenage pregnancy, risky behaviours such as substance misuse, and involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • However, it makes it clear that the Government does not prescribe exactly which services and activities for young people LA should provide. It also does not define a standard of service for young people.



Although local authorities have a duty to secure sufficient services for young people aged 13-19 to improve their well-being, they are not provided with specific funding for youth work. They decide how much of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) - the non-ring fenced funding provided to local authorities from central government, via the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government - to allocate to them. Local authorities can also redirect funding from other non-ring-fenced areas, an example being council tax and other local sources. The amounts local authorities redirect will vary depending on local circumstances.

The National Lottery Community Fund makes grants available to youth work projects under its ‘Empowering young people’ programme. To be eligible, projects must be aimed at achieving at least one of the following outcomes:

  • more young people are ready for education, work and training;
  • young people have better relationships with their support networks and communities;
  • young people have improved health and well being.

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) was launched in 2016 and supports voluntary, community and social enterprise youth organisations to deliver, expand and create high quality local youth provision in targeted communities across England. Successful applicants will be funded up until 2020 or 2021, which allows them to invest and plan for the future. YIF had a total of £40 million and each organisation received funds between £100,000 to £750,000.

Additionally, although the Prince’s Trust does not provide funding for community projects, they have published a list of various grants and trusts to which community led youth work projects can apply for additional support.

For information about the general funding of youth policy, including youth work, please see the articles ‘Funding youth policy’ and ‘Supporting youth organisations’.



The Children Act (2004) states that in order to improve the well-being of children, ‘Each local authority in England must make arrangements to promote cooperation between: 

●  the authority;

●  each of the authority’s relevant partners; and

●      such other persons or bodies as the authority consider appropriate, being persons or bodies of any nature who exercise functions or are engaged in activities in relation to children in the authority’s area.’

Cooperation arrangements are to be made in the authority’s area relating to education, training, and recreation, as well as the contribution made by them to society, thereby encompassing youth work. 

Furthermore, in 2011, the Government published Positive for Youth, a cross-departmental strategy document for young people aged 13-19 that discusses cross-sectoral cooperation. It is not prescriptive in its cooperative framework, and more so emphasises that ‘central and local government can work more effectively with communities, voluntary and community sector providers, and business to help all young people succeed.’