Current policy consultations

Current policy consultations

As part of our work we respond to policy consultations relevant to young people’s health both for AYPH and as part of the Young People’s Health Partnership.  Responses to consultations and links to relevant open consultations are set out below.

Data saves lives – reshaping health and social care data

The Department for Health and Social Care consulted on their strategy for how data will be used to improve the health of the population. We support efforts that enable data driven improvements in healthcare and reductions in health inequalities. In our consultation response, we highlighted the importance of data sharing between health, social care and education to meet the data needs of young people. We recommended using the NHS number as a unique identifier to share children and young people’s data. We also recommended the strategy provides more information on data “ownership” with relation to young people, noting potential safeguarding concerns. In order for data sharing to be transparent, DHSC must involve young people in the consultation and implementation process. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Use of force in mental health settings

This guidance aims to prevent the use of inappropriate force within mental health settings. We welcomed the suggestion of providing separate policies for use of force on children and young people within organisations and that there should be a trauma-informed approach to the use of force. We recommended there should be appropriate follow-up with a health professional following the use of force, that professionals should receive specific training for children and young people and that young people should be consulted with on these proposed changes. We also recommended that use of force should be reduced in all settings that young people encounter (such as schools and VCSE sector services) as the use of force can be detrimental to young people’s emotional wellbeing. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Women’s Health Strategy

On behalf of the Young People’s Health Partnership, we responded to the Department for Health and Social Care’s call for evidence on their proposal to develop a women’s health strategy. We stressed the importance of involving young women and girls in the development of the strategy, noting the unique healthcare needs of this age group. We provided data on topics such as autism, gender based violence and menstruation to highlight the prevalence of gender inequalities in health. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Feasibility of UK child abuse prevalence survey

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are exploring the feasibility of developing a child abuse prevalence survey. We recognise the benefit of capturing data on child abuse to inform research, policy and practice, and ultimately improve outcomes for children and young people. We recommended that the ONS should appropriately plan, design and implement the survey in a way that safeguards and protects children and young people. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Transforming the public health system

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consulted on their proposed changes to Public Health England (PHE) and the creation of the UK Health Security Agency and the Office for Health Promotion. We welcomed the proposals for strengthening cross-Government action on the wider determinants of health and prevention. We highlighted the importance of developing preventative policies and solutions that are aimed at improving young people’s health and health inequalities. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Babies, children and young people’s experiences of healthcare

NICE have developed guidance for all professionals across a range of settings who are providing healthcare to children and young people. The guidance has been developed in collaboration with young people and we supported much of the content. We suggested that the guidance take a broader look at the age range of young people’s health services and considers barriers to digital access and inclusion. We also highlighted specific groups of young people who may require additional support accessing healthcare. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Reforming the Mental Health Act

Alongside our partners in the Young People’s Health Partnership (YPHP), we responded to the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) proposals to update the Mental Health Act for England and Wales, which relates to the process of detaining people under section. We support the proposals to provide more rights for patients and the steps to address racial disparities within the system. Our response highlighted the experiences of young people under section. We recommended services should be trauma informed, youth friendly and protective of young people’s rights. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Inclusive data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are undertaking a review of how inclusive data and evidence are across the UK. We attended an expert panel to discuss the issue and provided evidence via the online survey. We recommended improved data collection and reporting for young people’s health outcomes. Specifically, we would like data to be represented in quinary age bandings and broken down by different groups and characteristics. You can read our response to the consultation here.

Changes to public procurement processes

Alongside our partners in the Young People’s Health Partnership (YPHP), we responded to the Cabinet Office’s proposed changes to public procurement. We highlighted the challenges voluntary sector organisations face when engaging in procurement processes, but also the unique benefits our organisations can contribute to services, especially working with disadvantaged groups in society. We recommend provision of youth-specific funding and approaches that favour value for money, rather than price alone. You can read our response to the consultation here.

ONS Health Index

The proposal for a Health Index was made in the 2018 annual report of the government’s the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, entitled Health 2040 – Better Health Within Reach. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have since developed a ‘beta’ version of the Health Index and welcomed feedback on the existing elements of the the index and how best these could be improved. We support the development of the index, as it provides a top-level measure of health, which can be tracked over time and compared against GDP performance. We welcome that the index takes a broad view of health, incorporating health outcomes alongside risk factors and social determinants of health – this aligns with our work on reducing health inequalities. We believe that the index could be strengthened by a greater focus on the health needs of young people specifically, which would strengthen the tool’s use in informing the prevention agenda. You can read our response to the consultation here.

ONS children’s wellbeing indicators

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are updating their list of children’s wellbeing indicators. The proposal includes an expanded set of indicators (71 in total), including a new focus on ‘disadvantaged’ groups (young carers, LAC, homelessness, LGBT). We’re supportive of the refreshed indicator set, but would like to see additional information on indicators that are especially pertinent to young people’s health (e.g. employment/NEET, sexually transmitted infections, road traffic accidents, engagement with youth services, experiences of healthcare services). You can read our response to the consultation here.

The Government has published the Prevention Green Paper ‘Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s’. You can read our response to the consultation as part of the Young People’s Health Partnership here.

Managing the Impact of Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health & Wellbeing

The APPG on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing held an inquiry into managing the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The inquiry aimed to build the evidence base on the issue and inform progressive and practical solutions including a proposed industry Code of Conduct. You can read our response to the call for evidence here.

Green Paper: Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision

The Green Paper sets out the Government’s plans to improve mental health support for children and young people.  It includes a focus on prevention and stresses the importance of work with schools and colleges.

AYPH has highlighted the need for mental health support from prevention through to specialist services for all young people age 10 – 25.  We think that everyone working with young people must be involved in improving mental health support including the VCSE and families.  You can read our response to the consultation as part of the Young People’s Health Partnership here.  Youth Access, acting on behalf of The Young People’s Health Partnership, was commissioned by DHSC to run four 2 hour focus groups with young people to get their thoughts on the proposals outlined in the green paper. You can read our report on what the young people thought of the proposals here.

Changes to teaching of Sex and Relationships Education and PSHE

This consultation will inform the delivery of commitments the Government made to:

    • introduce statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) in all secondary schools from 2019 and statutory ‘relationships education’ in all primary schools
    • update statutory guidance on relationships and sex education (last updated in 2000)
    • consider whether to make PSHE statutory in its entirety.

High quality PSHE is important for all young people and we will be responding to this consultation and confirming our support for PSHE to be made statutory in its entirety. You can read our response to the call for evidence as part of the Young People’s Health Partnership here.