This paper explores the context of democratic engagement of young people in 21st Century devolved Britain, and proceeds with an investigation of a youth-led consultation response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Triennial Review.
The impetus for this paper derives from a recent government paper, An Agenda for Youth Engagement (HM Government, 2010). This document is the UK government’s response to a series of recommendations made by the Youth Citizenship Commission (“YCC”), which was set up to find ways of increasing young people’s understanding of citizenship and increase their participation in politics (Youth Citizenship Commission website, 2010). This paper makes the argument that the YCC and the government, including specific departments such as the Ministry of Justice, may be putting too much emphasis on engaging young people in national politics, including voting, and too much reliance on new methods of e-participation to achieve increased democratic engagement and participation. Instead, focusing on local decision making, or engagement in issues of national importance in a local context, through more traditional methods could be more relevant in a devolved Britain, where not all young people are able or willing to engage as active (online) citizens.