PSA 'Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission' calls on all political parties for action to get young people involved in politics

Friday 25 April 2014

As part of its on-going commitment to promoting political activism and democratic engagement, the Political Studies Association has announced the publication of, ‘Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission: Young People and Politics.  It builds on the work of the Youth Citizenship Commission and seeks to further energise debates about young people and democratic participation.

The publication is edited by Professor Jon Tonge (University of Liverpool) and Dr Andy Mycock (University of Huddersfield), who between 2008 and 2009 served on the independent Youth Citizenship Commission formed by the last Labour government.

The volume brings together leading youth citizenship specialists –  including Democratic Life supporter, David Kerr – to offer opinion pieces and policy proposals to encourage governments, political parties and youth stakeholder groups across the UK to adopt more dynamic approaches to encouraging young people to get involved in politics.

The publication offers a range proposals including:

  • A national referendum on votes at 16
  • The formation of a standing Commission on Education for Citizenship to monitor provision in schools and colleges
  • The introduction of compulsory electoral registration in schools and colleges
  • The youth-centric reform of political party membership
  • Compulsory annual MP constituency and local councillor ward surgeries and political party policy forums for young people in schools, colleges, and community centres.

The report editors say

‘Civil engagement, in the form of volunteering is at an all time high and young people are interested in participating in our democracy when it is made accessible and relevant to them. We believe there are considerable grounds for optimism that a high level of civic engagement, underpinned with a strong political component, can be attained.’

The volume will be officially launched at an event in Westminster during the summer and further events involving parliamentarians, youth organisations, and young people will be hosted in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. A series of on-line debates will be hosted over the next few weeks on the Democratic Audit and PSA blogs, with leading politicians, academics, and young people responding to the policy proposals.

An electronic copy of the Beyond the Youth Citizenship Commission: Young People and Politics volume can be downloaded here.

For further details of PSA youth citizenship events linked to the project or to ask for a hard copy of the volume, please contact Dr Andy Mycock

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