Guide to setting up a Youth Forum in Health Services

The past decade has seen a significant commitment by local authorities to actively involve young people in local democracy and decision making in order to develop and improve local services, while encouraging a greater sense of ownership amongst young people and giving them a real stake in their community.  NHS services have also recognised the importance of involving children and young people and are using similar mechanisms to consult them and embed them in their decision making processes.

The NHS England in partnership with the British Youth Council have come together to produce this guide to help support healthcare professionals who wish to set up youth forums to develop and improve their health services.  The guide uses a number of excellent case studies within the guide to demonstrate how youth forums can be effectively used across a range of health care services to involve children and young people in service development and improvement.

Guide to setting up a Youth Forum in Health Services:

Youth forums give young people the chance to discuss relevant issues, engage with decision makers and contribute to improving the lives of young people within their communities. There are currently over 620 youth councils/youth forums active across the UK, working with all levels of local government including Parish and Community Councils as well as Unitary Authorities, Borough and County Councils.

NHS England is committed to working and engaging with patients, carers and the public in a wide range of ways, ensuring that the views of the people are heard at all levels and across all parts of the healthcare system to create and deliver better health and care services. In particular, NHS England is working hard to develop approaches and networks to ensure that people’s input can be sought, heard and acted on.

They are determined to ensure that voices of the people are at the heart of transforming healthcare services.  As well as helping to support healthcare professionals at a local level to involve children and young people, NHS England have also set up a National Youth Forum to work with a diverse range of young people to improve services and to seek advice from the young people about national programmes of work in the NHS.

The National Youth Forum was launched in March 2014. Further details about the forum can be found at