Saturday 11 August 2007

Useful Link: Funky Dragon - children and young people's involvement in decision making in Wales

From their website:

Funky Dragon - the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales - is a peer-led organisation. Its aim is to give 0 – 25 year olds the opportunity to get their voices heard on issues that affect them. The opportunity to participate and be listened to is a fundamental right under the United Nations Convention Rights of the Child. Funky Dragon tries to represent as wide a range as possible and work with decision-makers to achieve change.

Funky Dragon’s main tasks are to make sure that the views of children and young people are heard, particularly by the Welsh Assembly Government, and to support participation in decision-making at national level.

Grand Council

The Grand Council is made up of a total of 100 young people from across Wales, representing the views of a wide range of both voluntary and statutory organisations. Young people across Wales can access the Grand Council through the different ways below.

Local Authority Wide Forums

Statutory Sector – 22 places
Voluntary Sector - 22 places
School Councils - 22 places

Funky Dragon is using the term local authority-wide forum as we recognise that some forums representing the geographical area of a local authority are either independent or are supported by an agency other than the Local Authority such as the Princes Trust or the Children’s Society.

Each Local Authority Wide Forum is offered two places for young people (one for the statutory sector and one for the voluntary sector) on the Grand Council. It is up to each forum to democratically elect their representatives. Representatives are asked to commit to a 2 year term with the Grand Council.

Each Local Authority Wide Forum will be responsible for carrying out its own election process. The only conditions Funky Dragon puts on the process are:

  • The young people involved are aged between 11 and 25
  • The election must be a fair and democratic process
  • Only young people are able to vote
  • One young person should represent the statutory sector e.g. youth clubs, schools, social services etc
  • One young person should represent the voluntary sector e.g. local charities, uniformed group, young farmers etc

Funky Dragon reserves the right to refuse any representative if any of the above conditions are ignored.

Specific Interest Places

Young people have chosen 8 issue areas in which they feel need specific representation in the Grand Council:

  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Disability
  • Young Carers
  • Looked after Young People
  • Black and Minority Ethnic
  • Have been Homeless
  • Have been in Juvenile Justice System
  • Long Term Health Problems (but not necessarily a disability)

Where organisations or systems are in place for particular areas we will be approaching them to see how we can recruit young people that not only represent an organisation, but also that particular area. For example, with the area of looked after young people, we have approached Voices from Care and with black and ethnic minority young people, we have approached the Black Youth Network. Where more than one organisation wishes to put a young person forward, elections will take place at the Annual General Meeting.


In effect these are empty places. The aim is to make sure that the Grand Council is as representative of children and young people in Wales as possible, whilst recognising the fact that 60 young people will never be truly representative of young people across Wales.

Once the Grand Council is in place these will be used to ensure as wide a range of representation as possible. Should the Grand Council feel that they are under represented in anyway then they can actively seek organisations to get young people representing an area/ interest.


The ambassadors are members who have served their two year term on the grand council but who’s experience is considered to be vital. They are invited to stay on, as part of the Grand Council, so that they can pass on the working methods and history of the organisation to newer members.

The Election Process

Within the structure of Funky Dragon there are positions that require an election by the Grand Council. These are for positions on the grand council and the management committee.

For the Grand Council these are:

  • Special Interest Places
  • Co-option Places

For the management committee these are:

  • Trustees under the age of 18
  • Trustees aged 18 or over

If you are interested in joining the grand council you need to go through your local youth forum. Click on youth forums and you will find contact details for your local youth forum worker who will be able to help you.

Funky Dragon also developed standards for participation of children.

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