How does UKYP work?

The UK Youth Parliament has over 364 representatives (369 seats for elected Members of Youth Parliament, all aged 11-18.

MYPs are usually elected in annual youth elections throughout the UK. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote. In the past two years one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.

Once elected MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs have the opportunity to meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting.

The Beginning

The idea for a UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) originated from young people themselves. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) sponsored the development of the proposal and a Steering Committee, led by Andrew Rowe (the then MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent) and chaired by James Moody, a young person, operated between October 1998 and December 2000, to oversee the establishment of the organisation and the first sitting.

The Aims

UKYP aims to give the young people of the UK between the ages of 11 and 18 a voice, which will be heard and listened to by local, regional and national government, providers of services for young people and other agencies who have an interest in the views and needs of young people.

It has an independent national identity, that has a rolling programme of activities across the year. This includes an Annual Sitting, a Sitting in the House of Commons, regional meetings, dialogue with Ministers and Opposition spokespeople and inputs to policy and programme development.

Objectives

UKYP is composed of representatives aged between 11 and 18 years old (inclusive) from across the UK. UKYP particularly encourages the involvement of young people who are socially excluded, but also representation from established groups such as local youth councils and individuals.

UKYP ensures that the young people of the UK are given a voice on any issue that affects them, as laid out in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights Of The Child.

UKYP gives the young people of the UK an opportunity to be involved in a democratic process at a national level.

UKYP empowers young people to take positive action within their local communities based upon issues of shared concern.

UKYP is a non-party political organisation, and as such, seeks to represent no party political view. UKYP is solely issue based.

The Structure

UKYP recognises the regional and national boundaries of the UK, as defined by the Government, and has developed a regional group supported by a Regional Co-ordinator in each of the nine English regions. Agreements have been developed, or are in development, with relevant agencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the Scottish Youth Parliament, Funky Dragon – Wales, and the Northern Ireland Youth Forum) to ensure the young people in those areas are represented on UKYP.

Each Local Authority (LA) across England represents a UKYP constituency. Each constituency has a minimum of one MYP elected as a representative to UKYP. The numbers of MYPs in each constituency depend upon the numbers of young people in that area, e.g. Warwickshire has 4 MYPs, whilst Southampton, a Unitary Authority, has only one.’