Effective Youth Services (OFSTED)

  • Young people are involved in planning, executing and evaluating the activities
  • Opportunities for accreditation are supported and encouraged
  • There is a sense of fun and enjoyment in the work
  • There are opportunities for young people to work independently, use their initiative and acquire a sense of responsibility towards themselves and their community
  • There is a wide range of activities, including recreational, artistic and creative, sporting and intellectual
  • Activities are inclusive and encourage regular, high levels of participation


Youth Work Practice

  • Sessions are well prepared and planned within the framework of an overall service curriculum
  • Experienced, skilled workers know their areas and the young people well
  • Workers make good use of specialist staff and partnership working
  • Good relationships are based on mutual respect, with boundaries set and observed
  • Thoroughly evaluated sessions are linked to good forward planning
  • There is strong support and guidance from service managers
  • Resources and accommodation are sufficient and of good quality


Project Work is effective when:

  • There is a disciplined focus on methodology and assessment
  • Focus on specific topic or targeted group of young people
  • Programmes are based on identified needs of the young people involved
  • Young people are involved in determining and reviewing the programmed
  • Young people can articulate the benefits of involvement in the project
  • Leading to some form of accreditation
  • Workers are well qualified and experienced in the activities used in the project, and specialists are used appropriately


Centre Based Work works best when:

  • Workers are imaginative and ambitious
  • Planned work goes beyond providing routine, recreational activities
  • Gives young people a safe place where they can meet friends, relax, have fun and enjoy a    range of stimulating and challenging recreational and other activities
  • Young people’s needs are thoroughly identified and met and youth workers make efforts to measure the progress young people are making
  • Youth workers challenge as well as support young people
  • Youth workers ensure that young people have the opportunity to discuss issues that affect them
  • Young people are actively involved in running their centre and planning and evaluating the work
  • Young people are encouraged to gain accreditation


Detached Youth Work is effective when:

  • Effective systems to record evidence of young people’s achievement and measure their progress are in place
  • The best work is usually seen when youth workers have worked with the young people for some time to establish continuity and build up trust
  • Young people have gained knowledge, skills and confidence through their contact with youth workers
  • Youth workers establish boundaries with young people but remain flexible and allow themselves to be challenged
  • Youth workers give young people good advice and information, and act as advocates for them in the local community 
  • Young people play an active part in determining the content of the work


Information, Advice and Counselling work best when:

  • Young people can describe how the workers have helped them to acquire knowledge, skills and confidence
  • Workers have built trusting relationships with young people over a period of time
  • Workers use open-ended questions effectively
  • Workers have good understanding of young people’s needs
  • Workers check that young people understand the information given and any agreements made
  • Workers keep appropriate records of all interventions



  • Youth Service Curriculum: do workers understand and use it?
  • Does it inform work plans (long term and session planning)?
  • Are there written plans for all units?
  • Is youth work recorded effectively?
  • Does the service have accurate data about the young people with whom it works?
  • Are recorded and accredited outcomes recorded and monitored?
  • Is young people’s [progress assessed?
  • Is youth work practice observed?
  • Is young people’s feedback and evaluation of programmes recorded and acted upon?
  • Can workers and young people articulate the benefits of youth work programme.

Learning South West, Regional Youth work Unit – Helping Youth Work Work

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