The Albemarle Report (1960) provided youth work in England and Wales with a
very influential rationale and framework – and was a key element in
substantially increasing funding for youth work. Here we reproduce the
introduction to the report – and a number of key chapters.

other chapters from the report: chapter 1: the youth service yesterday and today; chapter 3: justification and aims of the youth service; chapter 5: activities and facilities; and Chapter 10:  recommendations and priorities

The Committee responsible for this report was chaired by the Countess of Albemarle
and was appointed by the Minister of Education in November, 1958. It was given
the following terms of reference:

To review the contribution which the Youth Service of England and Wales
can make in assisting young people to play their part in the life of the
community, in the light of changing social and industrial conditions and of
current trends in other branches of the education service; and to advise
according to what priorities best value can be obtained for the money spent.

The Committee’s report was presented to Parliament in February 1960. For
a discussion of the background of the Report and its significance go to:

The Albemarle Report and the development of youth work in England and Wales

Other extracts from the Report include:
Chapter 1: the youth service yesterday and today
;
Chapter 3: justification and aims of
the youth service
,
Chapter 5: activities and facilities
and
Chapter 10:
recommendations and priorities
.

[page 1]

1.         The Committee was
appointed by the Minister of Education in November, 1958. We were given the
following terms of reference: “To review the contribution which the Youth
Service of England and Wales can make in assisting young people to play their
part in the life of the community, in the light of changing social and
industrial conditions and of current trends in other branches of the education
service; and to advise according to what priorities best value can be obtained
for the money spent.”

2.         We were appointed at
a most crucial time. First, because several aspects of national life, to which
the Youth Service is particularly relevant, are today causing widespread and
acute concern. These include serious short-term problems, such as that of the
“bulge” in the adolescent population. They include also much more complex and
continuous elements of social change, elements to which adolescents are
responding sharply and often in ways which adults find puzzling or shocking.
Secondly, because it soon became clear to us that the Youth Service itself is in
a critical condition. We have been struck by the unanimity of evidence from
witnesses (and their views were borne out by our own observations) on these
points:

(i)
that the Youth Service is at present in a state of acute depression. All
over the country and in every part of the Service there are devoted workers. And
in some areas the inspiration of exceptional individuals or organisations, or
the encouragement of local education authorities, have kept spirits unusually
high. But in general we believe it true to say that those who work in the
Service feel themselves neglected and held in small regard, both in educational
circles and by public opinion generally. We have been told time and time again
that the Youth Service is “dying on its feet” or “out on a limb“. Indeed, it has
more than once been suggested to us that the appointment of our own Committee
was either “a piece of whitewashing” or an attempt to find grounds for “killing”
the Service. These are distressing observations, but we feel they have to be
recorded since they indicate accurately the background of feeling among many of
those engaged in the Service; they should therefore be fully appreciated at the
very beginning of our Report. No Service can do its best work in such an
atmosphere;

(ii)
that our witnesses were nevertheless in no way disheartened about the
fundamental value of the Service. They gave us the firm impression (and again
this was supported by our own observations) that a properly nourished Youth
Service is profoundly worth while; and that it is of special importance in a
society subject to the kinds of change which we have noted above and which we
shall describe later.

3.         We have therefore
been meeting in conditions of quite unusual urgency and with a sense of working
against time. As a result we have not under­taken any large-scale research
projects in what is a very wide field. These [page 2] can be carried out
once the main justification and aims of the Service have been established. Many
enquiries have indeed already been made, but so far produced little positive
action. Again, we hope that our statement of principles and policy will allow
these earlier enquiries, and some which are going on at present, to be enlisted
in the improvement of a revivified Youth Service.

4.         In short, we have
thought of ourselves as a charting committee and have tried, as urgently as is
compatible with thoroughness and comprehensive­ness, to tackle the essential
questions: to establish the place of the Youth Service in the larger social and
educational scene; to chart a desirable course; and to outline those measures
(for both the short and the long term) which will best give the whole Service
the new heart it so badly needs.

5.         The chapters which
follow fall into three main groups.

First, after surveying the history, present
scope and limitations of the Service (Chapter 1), we review the changing scene
and try to assess the impact on young people of these changes (Chapter 2). We
then set out to re-establish the social and individual justification for the
Youth Service. Chapter 2, Part II and Chapter 3 contain our fundamental thinking
on needs, aims and principles.

Second, we have sought to build upon this
foundation the framework for a Youth Service which will be adequate to the needs
of young people. We therefore formulate the tasks of the various partners in the
Service (Chapter 4), and suggest the opportunities, activities and facilities
which need to be provided (Chapter 5).

Third, we examine and emphasise the
responsibilities which flow from our re-phrasing of the scope of the Youth
Service, and make our specific recommendations (Chapters 6—10).

6.         It will be quickly
seen that we believe a considerable expansion is needed in the provision made
for the Youth Service. No less will do since, at a time when it should have been
receiving exceptional encouragement, the Service has been allowed slowly to lose
confidence. Two kinds of measure are therefore needed:

(i)
“blood-transfusions”; that is, short-term measures to meet immediate
needs (e.g. the problem of the “bulge “). These may require emergency
expenditure;

(ii)
measures for sustained and continuous nourishment.

7.         We propose provision
for planned development over two five-year periods under the surveillance of a
Development Council. The main emphasis in the first five years would be on (i).
We believe all these measures are necessary and urgent. But it is important not
to encourage excessive hopes. The “problems of youth” are deeply rooted in the
soil of a disturbed modern world. To expect even the best Youth Service to solve
these problems would be to regard it as some sort of hastily applied medicament.

[page 3]

8.         As we seek to show
later, the Youth Service is deeply relevant to the needs and complexities of a
modern society enjoying a rising standard of living. But its real achievements
are bound to be sometimes difficult to measure statistically, and may only be
seen clearly over a long period. This is yet another reason for losing no time
in making a proper start.

9.         In the course of our
work, we have considered written evidence from 69 bodies and have heard oral
evidence from 20 of these (Appendix 1). In addition, a large number of
suggestions, sometimes in the form of memo­randa, have been received. We have
interviewed several individual people with a free-lance interest in or special
knowledge of youth work, and we have consulted many others informally. We have
received statistical informa­tion from Government departments and, in reply to a
questionnaire of our own, from all 146 local education authorities in England
and Wales. The Central Advisory Council for Education (England) has made
available to us the results of a survey carried out in 1957 (The survey carried
out by the Central Office of Information for the Central Advisory Council. See
“15 to 18“, A Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education – England); a
section of this survey dealt with the leisure-time interests of young people
after leaving school and was based on questions put to a sample of those who had
attended maintained schools. We have kept in touch with the Council and with two
other bodies which were examining social problems affecting young people— the
Ministry of Health’s Working Party on Social Workers in the Local Authority
Health and Welfare Services, and the Industrial Training Council which was set
up after the publication of the Carr Committee’s Report in 1958 (“Training for
Skill—Recruitment and Training of Young Workers in Industry”, Report of a
Sub-Committee of the National Joint Advisory Council). We have read reports on
the Youth Service written by H.M. Inspectors of Schools, and have received
several publications giving information about youth work abroad, particularly in
Europe. We are grateful to all those who have helped us in these ways.
Individual members of the Committee have visited youth groups at work in various
parts of the country; several members were able, during visits abroad for other
purposes, to learn something about youth work in the United States of America
and four other countries.

10.
We have met on 30 days, of which two were in Cardiff and three
constituted a residential week-end conference.

First published as Chapter 1 of Ministry of Education (1960) The Youth
Service in England and Wales
(‘The Albemarle Report’), London: Her Majesty’s
Stationery Office.

This piece has been reproduced here by the informal
education homepage under licence from from the Controller of HMSO and
the Queen’s Printer for Scotland. The informal education homepage holds a
licence to reproduce public service information and another to reproduce
Parliamentary material.

First placed in the archives: July 2002

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