The Members were reminded that, at a previous meeting of the Committee, further information had been sought in relation to the operation of the Belfast City Youth Council (BCYC) and the recruitment exercise.
Following the appointment of the new Young People’s Coordinator, Mr. S. Mulholland, in November 2022, the Terms of Reference of BCYC had been studied further. The Members were reminded that the Young People’s Coordinator was the only dedicated officer to the BCYC.
The Director advised that discussions had taken place with the young people, officers and sessional contracted youth workers who helped with the work of the BCYC. He reported that these discussions had identified challenges in operating the Youth Council with its current membership numbers. It was therefore proposed to reduce the membership from the current quota of 40 to 30 members, as it was felt that this would help to improve the functioning of the BCYC. If accepted, this change would be reflected in a Revised Terms of Reference. The membership would continue to be drawn proportionately from each DEA (3 members from each DEA, rather than 4) and the membership of the Forum would seek to have a balance in terms of the background of the members that was reflective of the
Make-up of the city.
The Members were advised that The Young People’s Coordinator was currently working with the Council’s Marketing and Corporate Communications team to finalise the marketing and communications plan that wouldunderpin the recruitment and selection process. He had also been engaging with a widerange of youth organisations in advance of the recruitment phase.
The Director provided an overview of the rationale for this change and drew the Members’ attention to the proposed timeline for the recruitment exercise, as detailed below:
· Initial engagement and contact with a wide range of organisations to raise awareness of the BCYC and promote the recruitment and selection process. Primarily face to face meetings within neighbourhoods and with city-wide organisations. Direct engagement list includes the following organisations:
· Prepare content for all media and promotional materials.
· Design website and social media
· Set-up online application
· Meet with Council’s Youth Champions
· Publicity campaign and promotional events
o Launch the Recruitment process – 2nd November.
o Dedicated Webpage designed and promoted.
o Social Media
o Press releases.
· Deliver 6 Area-based Roadshows between 6th to 24th November.
· Deliver 3 Online information sessions between 6th -24th November.
· Ongoing face to face contacts with organisations.
· Online application process to open 2nd November. Provision for hardcopy applications to be made available at the engagement meetings and Roadshows if requested.
· Application process to close - 30th November
· Assessment of applications - 1st - 5th December.
· Interview Process – 6th - 20th December.
· Belfast City Youth Council members selected and notified by 29th December.
· Committee Report – Update on outcome of Recruitment
· Welcome event organised with the new BCYC members, parents, Lord Mayor/Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillors, and Officers – 10th January 2024
A Member raised a number of queries regarding the recruitment and retention of the previous cohort of members and the officer agreed to discuss these further with her directly.
The Committee also discussed the possible inclusion of young people with learning difficulties and the officer agreed to liaise with the Young People’s Coordinator to consider this suggestion from a safeguarding perspective.
The Committee agreed:
· to amend the membership numbers of the Belfast City Youth Council (BCYC) from 40 to 30 and noted the proposed recruitment exercise and timeline for the recruitment of the new members; and
· that, in light of the timeline, the joint BCC and BCYC meeting scheduled for 18th December be postponed until the recruitment exercise had been completed.