transforming youth work - resourcing excellent youth services. A critique.

Government plans for the English Youth Services redefine what they do to such extent that it is increasingly difficult to call much of it youth work any longer. What is left of youth work within the youth service is to be largely 'transformed' into a form of schooling. We examine Transforming Youth Work - resourcing excellent youth services and the problems it poses for practitioners and policymakers.

contents: introduction · government plans for english 'youth work' · some problems and issues · conclusion: is it youth work? · references · how to cite this article
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cover: transforming youth work - resourcing excellent youth servicesOn December 18, 2002, the English Department of Education and Skills published it's specification for 'an excellent youth service'. It continues and refines the government's 'modernization' attempts to locate youth work within its Connexions strategy. The specification laid out in Transforming Youth Work - resourcing excellent youth services has been designed to feed into Ofsted’s Inspection Framework for Youth Work, and the central monitoring and control of youth services through action plans and the like. The document also confirms the movement towards bureaucratization, accreditation and targeting in the work.

In this piece we explore the content of the specification and some of the key issues and questions it raises. We also examine the extent to which the work it proposes can be called 'youth work'.

Government plans for English 'youth work'

The specification for English youth services provides direction concerning local authorities' duty to provide a youth service and the Secretary of State’s powers of intervention and direction. Where local authorities fail to ensure a 'sufficient youth service' the Secretary of State can intervene either to 'direct the LEA itself to provide specified facilities, or to direct that the youth service be operated by another body'. The specification also requires the agreement of local authority youth service plans following consultation with partners and a clear delineation of the contribution the youth service makes to other Government priorities such as tackling anti-social behaviour and crime. There is a commitment to 'mainstreaming equal opportunities, diversity and community cohesion' and to support and 'investment' to voluntary and community based youth work. However, this comes with a requirement to set out specific outcomes related to a 'youth work curriculum' and to target provision (along the lines set out by the Connexions strategy and service). One novel feature of the specification is a recommendation that local authorities develop a 'local pledge to young people'. The idea behind the  pledge is that young people should be clear about the service that will be provided. There are also sections dealing with resourcing a 'sufficient' youth service, and with quality assurance processes.

The pledge to young people. The new pledge to young people has to be related to new national standards of provision, health and safety requirements, and has to be within the parameters set by the Connexions strategy. The specifications state that the pledge should provide:

A safe, warm, well equipped meeting place within reasonable distance of home, accessible to young people at times defined by young people, giving an opportunity to participate in personal and social development activities including arts, drama, music, sport, international experience and voluntary action.

A wide diversity of youth clubs, projects and youth activities.

A set of programmes, related to core youth work values and principles, based on a curriculum framework which supports young people’s development in citizenship, the arts, drama, music, sport, international experience and personal and social development, including through residential experiences and peer education.

A comprehensive generic, confidential information, advice and counselling service.

Mechanisms for ensuring that their voice is heard, perhaps (though not exclusively) through a youth council or youth forum for each locality, with the intention of supporting youth engagement in local democracy in a wide range of ways.

An annual youth service questionnaire involving young people in auditing and evaluating the services (provided by the local authority youth service) available to them locally.

A defined project to promote and secure youth volunteering and voluntary action. (DfES 2002: 22)

The opportunity to participate in programmes which offer accreditation for learning such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Youth Achievement Award or similar.

Provision is clearly framed within a curriculum framework that is related to government objectives concerning social exclusion.

A curriculum for youth work. The specification states that local youth services must develop a curriculum related to the overall goals of the Connexions service. According to the specification, the overall aim of a local youth service should be to:

... promote the social, moral, cultural, emotional and physical development of young people, involve young people in the governance of relevant services and encourage young people’s preparation for the responsibilities, opportunities and expectations of adulthood and citizenship. (DfES 2002: 8)

The specification states that the 'goals for informal education through youth work complement those of more formal routes such as schools and colleges'. One of the difficulties for youth work is that such broad goals need, according to the government, are to be 'be expressed in a set of more specific outcomes' (DfES 2002: 11). The specification continues, 'the more clearly we can specify the ends, the better we will be able to choose the means for achieving them'.

Local youth services should, according to the specification, be accessible to all young people in the target age range 13–19, and to targeted groups in the 11–13 and 19–25 age ranges. Each local authority, the specification asserts, 'will need to prioritise a significant proportion of its resource towards those young people where needs are greatest' (DfES 2002: 10). The standards of youth work provision set out require local authorities to ensure the 'delivery' of a serviced which:

Targets the 13–19 age range but may also be working at the margins with 11–13 and 19–25 year olds;

Aims to reach 25% of the target age range in any given year of operation (and similar proportions for different ethnic groups);

Maintains a balanced range of provision delivered through a variety of outlets;

Deploys appropriately trained and qualified staff;

Has sufficient resource to invest in provision including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and to provide capital investment in existing and future building stock;

Has a sufficient balance of well trained managers to qualified youth workers;

Has a capacity to respond to new demands and needs of young people;

Has a continuous professional development programme for all staff, voluntary or paid; and

Has a clearly defined quality assurance process. (DfES 2002: 11)

The contribution to Connexions. Within the specification youth services are required to clearly identify  all the 'resources at their disposal for providing youth work to the Connexions Service' (DfES 2002: 12). In addition they should ensure that all youth work with the 13-19 age range 'is integral to the Connexions Service, its objectives and is a key partner in delivery'.

Resourcing a sufficient youth service. The government, from 2003-4 is separately identifying a 'Youth and Community sub-block' within the Education Formula Spending. This is to make clear the amount of money that should be devoted by local authorities to such services (which is said to be £513 million in 2003-4). The government has set out what it means, in general terms, by 'youth services' and 'adult and community learning' (DfES 2002: 34-6).

Measuring performance. The government has set out a number of annual targets for local English services and performance indicators. These relate closely to Connexions indicators. More specifically, the annual youth service targets require that:

25% of the target population 13–19 is reached (to reflect the cultural diversity of the community);

Of the 25% reached in the 13–19 target population, 60% to undergo personal and social development which results in an accredited outcome;

The target population will include a locally agreed target for those assessed as not in education, employment or training (NEET) or who are at risk of, or who are already fall into the following categories: teenage pregnancy, drugs, alcohol or substance abuse or offending;

70% of those participating in youth services expressing satisfaction with the service.

These targets clearly define the parameters of the project and the scale of the shift involved in youth services. The requirement that 60 per cent of young people in the 13-19 age range gain some form of accredited outcome entails a fundamental change (and aligns youth services more clearly with the approach taken within schools and colleges); and the concern to target provision to those defined as having certain categories of need highlights the continuing move away from 'generic' youth work.

The Youth Service Specific Performance Indicators set out in the specification concern the:

Spend per head of population in the target age range (13-19)/per head of population in the target age range priority groups (those at risk of offending, truanting, pregnancy or taking drugs and/or not in education, employment or training).

Number of personal and social development opportunities/activities offered to young people in the target age range.

Number of personal and social development opportunities offered to young people lasting between 10 and 30 hours with a recorded outcome.

Number of personal and social development opportunities offered to young people lasting from 30 to 60 hours, and leading to an accredited outcome;

Number of young people supported who are at risk.

The specification will be welcomed by many associated with local youth services and national agencies. It provides a clearer funding framework and, in many respects, it fits in with the general shifts in practice that have been occurring within state agencies for a number of years. However, as we will see, it raises some profound questions and problems. In many respects it represents a shift towards schooling. What it proposes may involve work with young people, but it is increasingly difficult to describe it as 'youth work'.

Some problems and issues

Here we want to highlight six elements of the specification that raise profound problems and issues for youth workers. They have been discussed previously on these pages - but because they are now realized in a specification for local youth services now have particular force and pertinence.

Centralization, narrowness and the Connexions agenda. While there is a great deal of talk of local youth services setting their own curriculum and developing their own plans, one of the inescapable features of this is that they have to address centrally defined targets and work within the Connexions strategy. This, augmented by an increased emphasis on central monitoring, means there has been a profound shift in power to the centre in the governance of youth services. It will have a deep impact on the degree of freedom that state-employed and state-funded youth workers have to respond to the needs and wishes of the young people they encounter. If young people (in the 13-19 age range, for example) do not fit into particular target categories they are much less likely to be worked with. If they have no wish to participate in programmes that lead to accreditation, workers will be under pressure to either find other young people or to push people into activities that can be accredited. It is likely that a great deal of manipulation around participation figures and data will also result.

If this was not enough, workers also have to contend with the narrow vision of well-being that is contained with the Connexions strategy. It is fundamentally concerned with reconnecting young people with training and employment so that economic growth can be sustained. While there was some mention of ‘seeing the whole person’ (and the role of youth workers in encouraging Connexions colleagues to take account of this) in Transforming Youth Work (2001) – there is still no exploration of what constitutes human well-being. You will search in vain for any sustained discussion of spiritual well-being, or of moral and ethical questions (other than in relation to the Citizenship curriculum within schooling). Significantly, the fine words about young people being active citizens and engaging with democratic and politic processes, when analysed, are largely about the feedback they can give as consumers of the Connexions Service or of other services. This fits in more broadly with what Rowan Williams (drawing on Philip Bobbitt) has described as the shift from the 'nation state' to the 'market state'. Williams describes the problem of the market state as follows:

By pushing politics towards a consumerist model, with the state as the guarantor of 'purchasing power', it raises short-term expectations. By raising short-term expectations, it invites instability, reactive administration, rule by opinion poll and pressure. To facilitate some of its goals and to avoid chaos, government inevitably relies more on centralised managerial authority. So there will be a dangerous tension between excessive government and the paralysis that can result from trying to respond adequately to consumer demand. (Williams 2002)

Government is increasingly technocratic, the argument goes, and oriented to voters as consumers. As a result it fails to satisfy most people's needs. It is looking to the wrong things. Robert E. Lane (2000) has clearly demonstrated that, once a certain level of wealth and income has been achieved, there is a significant tailing-off of happiness. In market democracies such as Britain and the USA there is considerable evidence that unhappiness has grown as real income has grown. Friendship, association and family life are what count.

What we have here is a limited and limiting view of young people, and of human well-being generally. Not only are fundamental areas of human experience overlooked or quietly forgotten, young people are essentially viewed as objects to acted upon (or ‘delivered to’). They are to be ‘kept in good shape’ rather than being partners in dialogue. The focus is on reconnecting young people with the labour market (either directly or through education) and keeping them away from a select grouping of what are seen as problematic activities (such as early pregnancy). To put it again in the words of Rowan Williams, the vision of the market state 'has nothing to say about shared humanity and the hard labour of creating and keeping going a shared world of values'.

Targeting. The specification runs in line with early government documents in placing an emphasis on working with young people at risk (defined as those assessed as not in education, employment or training [NEET] or who are at risk of, or who are already fall into the following categories: teenage pregnancy, drugs, alcohol or substance abuse or offending). There are also specific targets and performance indicators linked to work with these groups. When set in the context of the overall Connexions strategy we can see that there has been a important reorientation of youth work. It builds on movements that have been occurring since the late 1970s (and the shift to issue-based work) and entails a significantly increased emphasis on the surveillance and control of particular groupings of young people (alongside the surveillance of all via Connexions). For youth workers and informal educators there are a number of problems. First, there are issues around how they can justify work with people who do not fit into the government's preferred categories. They will have some freedom around this, but we know from the experience of other target-driven policies (such as in schooling) that work becomes narrowed and there are considerable pressures to direct resources to the attainment of targets. Second, the focus on 'at-risk' young people, can lead to stigmatization of what become more recognizable groups.

Third, the shift of resources away from other groups and activities involves a movement away from might be described as social capital building, towards amelioration. This has been discussed at length elsewhere on these pages - but the basic point is simply stated. There is very strong argument against those who wish to concentrate the bulk of resources on groups and individuals who present the strongest social problems. If we follow Putnam’s (2000) analysis through we can see that, for example, crime can be reduced, educational achievement enhanced and better health fostered through the strengthening of social capital (via general club and group life). By working across communities – and in particular sustaining the commitment and capacities already involved in community organizations and enthusiast groups, and encouraging those on the cusp of being actively involved - fundamental gains can be made for all. In other words, open and generic work needs to be afforded a far higher priority – and so-called ‘issue-based’ and 'targeted' work needs to be more closely interrogated as to the benefits it brings.

The focus on accreditation. The requirement that that 60 per cent of young people worked with in the 13-19 age range must 'undergo personal and social development which results in an accredited outcome' has far-reaching implications. It alters the focus of activity in a way that severely undermines the informal and convivial nature of youth work. Alongside this has also come an emphasis on gaining competencies (particular skills) rather than competence (ability to live life well). It means, for example, that workers will be under pressure to look to those activities that have an obvious outcome rather than having faith in process and relationship (see below). Examples of the way in which this impacts on youth work abound - especially in relation to the way that Ofsted inspection has operated. Projects that can demonstrate their success via other means around, for example, reducing tensions between young people on different estates, have found themselves 'marked down' because this isn't accredited.

Alongside an increased emphasis on curriculum (which by definition takes much of youth work out of the category of informal education) work in youth services is more clearly aligned in the specification with the sort of disposition usually associated with schooling. Here is one of the great dangers. What the specification does is to substantially increase the pressure to formalize the activities of workers within youth services and to take them away from the sorts of open-ended conversations, activities and relationships that defined the work in the twentieth century.

Unfortunately, the focus on accreditation also approaches education as a form of having rather than being. In other words there is a concern with competencies rather than competence. This has a detrimental effect on the relationships that workers can have with young people. It orients them both to gaining and possessing 'things'. Erich Fromm brings out the way that this can undermine conversation and dialogue:

While the having persons rely on what they have, the being persons rely on the fact that they are, that they are alive and that something new will be born if only they have the courage to let go and respond. They become fully alive in the conversation because they do not stifle themselves by anxious concern with what they have. Their own aliveness is infectious and often helps the other person to transcend his or her egocentricity. Thus the conversation ceases to be an exchange of commodities (information, knowledge, status) and becomes a dialogue in which it does not matter any more who is right. (Fromm 1979)

The overall result is a significant alteration in the balance in work within youth services between the formal and the informal.

Delivery rather than relationship. By heading for ways of organizing the work like outcome, curriculum and issue, there is a great danger of overlooking what lies at the heart of youth work. In particular, workers face losing relationship as a defining feature of their practice. The pressures around the meeting of targets in other sectors has meant a reduction in the amount of freewheeling time that practitioners are able to spend with people. A classic example here has been the experience of teachers in the classroom. The same mix of curriculum imposition, targets, inspection and accreditation (exam success) has led to a startling narrowing of focus within school classrooms and a declining readiness on the part of teachers to engage with young people as people rather than potential outputs. (See informal education and schooling for an analysis of these trends). Indeed, the pressure in this direction has led to schools employing and using youth workers and informal educators in order to lessen the impact of these shifts. 

The problem that workers face isn't only a matter of the amount of time they are able to devote to relationship, it is the way in which their practice is increasingly framed. Education and the work of youth services is increasingly being commodified. In the 1980s and early 1990s this movement was partly carried forward by the rise of managerialism in many 'western' education systems. Those in authority were encouraged and trained to see themselves as managers, and to reframe the problems of education as exercises in delivering the right outcomes. There has also been a wholesale strengthening of the market. Schools (and youth agencies ) have had to compete for young people in order to sustain and extend their funding. This, in turn, meant that they have had to market their activities and to develop their own 'brands'. They had to sell 'the learning experience' and the particular qualities of their institution. To do this complex processes had to be reduced to easily identified packages; philosophies to sound bites; and young people and their parents become 'consumers'. 

The overall result has been a drive towards to the achievement of specified outcomes and the adoption of standardized teaching models. The emphasis was less on community and equity, and rather more on individual advancement and the need to satisfy investors and influential consumers. Education had come to resemble a private, rather than public, good. Learning, thus, has increasingly been seen as a commodity or as investment, rather than as a way of exploring what might make for the good life or human flourishing. Teachers' and youth workers’ ability to ask critical questions about the world in which live has been deeply compromised. The market ideologies they have assimilated (along with others in these societies), the direction of the curricula they are increasingly required to 'deliver', and the readiness of the colleges, schools and agencies in which they operate to embrace corporate sponsorship and intervention have combined to degrade their work to such an extent as to question whether what they are engaged in can be rightfully be called education (MacIntrye 2002).

Individualization. Within government policies there has been a growing focus upon targeting interventions at named individuals - we can see this in some of the activities of youth workers within the new community schools, of learning mentors within the Safer Cities Initiative in England and of personal advisers within the Connexions Service. Essentially a form of case management is seen as the dominant way of working in this area. People are identified who are in need of intervention so that they may take up education, training or work. Action programmes are devised and implemented. Programmes are then assessed on whether these named individuals return to learning or enter work - rather than on any contribution made to the quality of civic life, personal flourishing or social relationships that arise out of the process. While this process predates the Connexions strategy, it has been accelerated by it and taken a new twist. While the personal adviser function has taken some youth workers more towards the territory traditionally occupied by social workers, the Transforming youth work specification also pulls them in the direction of schooling.  

Since the 1970s youth services have largely lost faith in association - one of the three central features of youth work identified by the Albemarle Report (1960). As a result, there has been an important shift in the group work undertaken by workers. It had become less and less oriented to the needs of the group (or club or unit) as a whole and instead focused on the achievement of learning that benefited individuals. In other words, it had lost much of its communal quality and emphasis on club life (see Robertson 2000; Smith 2001; and Jeffs and Smith 2002). This connected with wider changes linked to globalization and the emergence of the 'risk society' (Beck 1992) and the movements charted by Robert Putnam and others away from civic participation. However, rather than appreciating the significant costs to local communities and to individuals in these changes, youth services and many youth work agencies have simply gone with the tide. The alternative course, trying to build defences around, and promote, community and association has not been taken by most agencies and services. The result has been a sharpening orientation to young people as individual consumers of a service rather than the creators of groups and activities and a major stride towards the rhetoric and practice of schooling

Bureaucratization: For some years the adoption of so-called ‘professionalism' has led to an embracing of a bureaucratic orientation. A central aspect of this has been the dominance of what is 'correct' rather than what is 'right'. Youth workers have increasingly submitted to procedures that place their safety first, rather than what is good for the people involved. At one level the reasons for this are obvious. Issues around safety in minibuses and on trips and activities; concerns around child protection and so on have led to the imposition or adoption of rules and procedures that cannot take account of the particular circumstances, and which undermine key aspects of youth work (e.g. around spontaneity and informality). However, within New Labour policy initiatives there has been a further push towards bureaucratization in the shape of ‘joined-up’ thinking and the surveillance and control of individuals. The amount of record keeping on individuals has increased significantly.

In the new specification for youth services there is a whole raft of new bureaucratic requirements around monitoring and evaluation, and initiatives such as a the youth service questionnaire. One of the largest increases in bureaucratic activity brought about by the new specification, will be in the necessity of keeping and processing the records necessary to evidence and accredit learning. The requirement that 60 per cent of young people worked with in the 13-19 age range must 'undergo personal and social development which results in an accredited outcome' will bring about an explosion in paperwork. Full-time workers within local youth services already spend a relatively small proportion of their time in direct work with young people. They are likely to spend even less in 'transformed' youth services.

Conclusion: is it youth work?

The scale of the shift, for example towards accreditation and curriculum delivery, has tipped the balance significantly away from the forms of relationship and approach that have been central to the development of youth work. The specification does make various references to youth work values (which in the statement of values in the specification we find are not really values at all). However, it does not locate youth work within the central understandings of practice that have emerged.  

What is youth work?

Whilst different traditions of youth work have developed , it can be argued that some key dimensions that have been present to differing degrees in the central discourses of practice since the early 1900s (Doyle and Smith forthcoming). Youth work involves:

Focusing on young people. Although there have been various shifts in the age boundaries, youth work has remained an age-specific activity. Its practitioners claim some expertise in both in making sense of the experiences of youth, and in being able to work with young people (Jeffs 2001: 156). Youth workers have traditionally worked with the ways of understanding the world that people bring. Groups define themselves as ‘young’ or ‘old’ and organize around that - and youth workers respond accordingly.

Emphasizing voluntary participation and relationship. The voluntary principle, as Tony Jeffs (2001: 156) has commented, has distinguished youth work from most other services provided for this age group. Young people have, traditionally, been able to freely enter into relationships with workers and to end those relationships when they want.  'Building relationships' has been central both to the rhetoric and practice of much youth work. Two themes emerge with some regularity: education for relationship and education through relationship. By paying attention to the nature of the relationship between educators and learners, it is argued, we can work in ways more appropriate to people's needs (Smith 2001b). 

Committing to association. Association - joining together in companionship or to undertake some task, and the educative power of playing one's part in a group or association (Doyle and Smith 1999: 44) - has been a defining feature of youth work since its inception. This interest in association was, perhaps, most strongly articulated in the Albemarle Report (HMSO 1960).

Being friendly and informal, and acting with integrity. Youth work has come to be characterized by a belief that workers should not only be approachable and friendly; but also that they should have faith in people; and be trying, themselves, to live good lives. In other words, the person or character of the worker is of fundamental importance. In short, youth work is driven by conversation and an evolving idea of what might make for the well-being and growth.

Being concerned with the education and, more broadly, the welfare of young people. Historically, youth work did not develop simply ‘keep people off the streets’, or to provide amusement.  Classes, discussions, libraries and various opportunities to expand and deepen experience have been an essential element of youth work since its beginnings.  This interest in learning, however, has been overwhelmingly of the most informal kind and augmented by a concern for the general welfare of young people. With developments and changes in state support mechanisms, and the identification of other needs, the pattern of welfare provision has shifted – but has remained a significant element of youth work.

Discussed in Smith (1999, 2002) Introducing youth work

It is through these five elements that we can begin to make sense of the dominant discourses of youth work in the twentieth century and can view youth work as a form of informal education (Smith 1988). However, what is of particular significance now, is that the scale of change with regard to these dimensions is such that we face a defining moment in the history of youth work in Britain.

illustration: the informal - formal continuum - Ellis 1990There has been a shift from voluntary participation to more coercive forms; from association to individualized activity; from education to case management (and not even casework); and from informal to bureaucratic relationships. Significantly, there are now targets surrounding accreditation that inevitably accelerate the movement away from informal education towards formal education and formation. If we use John Ellis' (1990) model, it is quite clear that the mix between informal and formal education within youth work has moved away from X  towards Y. This has profound implications. The shift in practice towards the formal in work with 13-19 year olds, the growing dominance of curriculum thinking, and the emphasis on record-keeping and paperwork makes it difficult to call the activity youth work (see below). The result is a series of shifts that has been chronicled elsewhere on these pages (Smith 2001).

The overall effect is to radically alter the shape of the work within youth services. The job may involve some youth work - but it has become something else. Perhaps the best way of characterizing it, for at least work with 13-19 year olds, is as a modified form of schooling that also entails a significant amount of case management and some youth work. Youth work has traditionally operated in the 'middle territory' between social work and teaching (Kornbeck 2002: 49). With the advent of the Connexions strategy local youth services are losing their distinctive position. Some workers have already found themselves in personal adviser roles, others will now be pushed further into working in ways that resonate with schooling and the curriculum and accreditation forms associated with formal education.

exhibit: the shift awat from youth work

A couple of things need to be noted about this shift. First, the identity of workers within local youth and Connexions services will change. The personal adviser role is distinctly different from that of the youth worker. It draws upon practice wisdom and theory that is closer to approaches to assessment and intervention most commonly found within the case management and ameliorative traditions associated with social work (Kornbeck 2002).  In a similar way, the professional identity of youth service workers will become increasingly wrapped up with those of trainers and teachers within formal education. Second, the freedom to actually engage in youth work (as against case-management and tutoring) within state youth services, and within agencies heavily dependent upon the state for funding, will be seriously curtailed. Over the last few years a growing proportion of many youth workers' time has been eaten up by increased paperwork, the management of staff and in 'co-ordinating' activity. Not only will this process be accelerated, but the fundamentals of youth work will be further eroded.  Workers within local youth services will have their work cut out to maintain and develop youth work based around relationship, association and learning. Some space will no doubt be found, but direct youth work will be such a small part of most state workers' practice (and of those in receipt of significant state funding) that it is difficult to describe their overall role as youth work anymore. The bulk of youth work practice will continue to be found around voluntary agencies and community groups.

The sad thing about all this is that we know now that the current set of initiatives linked to Connexions will fail to further well-being (or even economic growth). The specification stands in a depressingly long line of dismal political interventions in this area. As Alison Wolf (2002: xiii) has shown in her analysis, the 'more overtly and more directly politicians attempt to organize education for economic ends, the higher the higher the likelihood of waste and disappointment'. We can only hope that there enough workers and managers around to keep the spirit and practice of youth work alive. Transforming Youth Work: Resourcing excellent youth work is a thoroughly mis-titled document. While youth work is certainly being transformed, it is not into something that can be called, for the most part, either excellent, or youth work. It's narrowing and mediocre vision is the triumph of a self-serving and bureaucratic imagination.


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How to cite this article: Smith, M. K. (2002) 'Transforming Youth Work - Resourcing excellent youth services. A critique', the informal education homepage,

© Mark K. Smith 2002