Wes Streeting, NUS President-elect, has been appointed as a Commissioner on the Government’s new Youth Citizenship Commission (YCC).
Wes’s appointment represents a great opportunity for NUS to influence major policy decisions and to advance the citizenship issues we’ve been speaking out on for a long time.
Established in February 2008, the YCC addresses concerns about the decreasing participation of young people in civic life and politics, and falling turnout at elections.
Young people are failing to connect with politics
Evidence shows that if young people fail to connect with politics, the chances of them voting and participating in politics later in life are greatly diminished. This has serious implications for the future health of our democracy.
As part of his Governance of Britain agenda, the Prime Minister has committed to examine ways in which the Government can reinvigorate democracy and make it more meaningful to citizens.
What the Youth Citzenship Commission will aim to do
The YCC’s remit is to:
Examine what citizenship means to young people.
Look at ways to increase young people's participation in politics.
Look at ways to developing citizenship amongst disadvantaged groups.
Look at ways to promote active citizenship through volunteering and community engagement.
Look at ways to ensure that political systems reflect the communication preferences of young people.
Lead a consultation with young people on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.
The influence of the media on young people
A key issue will be the influence of the media on young people's self-perception and the impact this has on their level of engagement, since recently the media has tended to be increasingly negative about young people.
The YCC will report next spring to Jack Straw (Justice Secretary), Ed Balls (Children’s, Schools and Families Secretary) and the Prime Minister.