Youth Advisory Group Terms of Reference

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Purpose of the Youth Advisory Group

The purpose of the Youth Advisory Group is to:

  • inform the Minister of Education on aspects of the education system and how these affect the children and young people that use the system,
  • provide an opportunity for New Zealand youth to voice their own experiences and perspectives on education, and
  • bring these insights to the Ministry of Education and education sector, to help inform work practises.

Expectations and Responsibilities

Youth Advisory Group members may be required to:

  • interact with the Minister of Education, Associate Ministers of Education, officials from the Ministry of Education, and/or other relevant government agencies (as required),
  • receive and reply to emails from the youth facilitator as point of contact,
  • consider suitable topics for discussion, and contribute their perspectives on issues and opportunities that are important to young people.

Members are expected to:

  • attend the agreed meetings for the duration of their tenure (one year),
  • be proactive and committed to engage with the Minister of Education and Ministry of Education officials and/or facilitator to represent their perspectives on the subjects important to them,
  • provide constructive advice on policy and projects presented for discussion by the Ministry, whilst taking into account the wider needs, issues and views of young people,
  • be approachable and mindful of other people’s opinions and perspectives,
  • work effectively and collaboratively with other people,
  • bring additional youth issues and opportunities to the table for consideration.

In return for their commitment, the member will be provided with:

  • support to carry out their duties through experiential learning,
  • catering, travel to and from meetings and accommodation, where required,
  • the experience and knowledge to make the voice of young people heard, and
  • a Certificate of Appreciation from the Minister of Education, outlining key competencies demonstrated through your participation and contributions, at the end of their tenure.

Meetings and Reporting

Members of the Youth Advisory Group will attend an orientation meeting and quarterly meetings, based on the calendar year of their tenure at the Ministry of Education (or any other appropriate location). The Ministry will discuss scheduling of meetings with members of the Youth Advisory Group.

It is expected that members will attend at least three of the four meetings during their tenure.

Meeting dates are set at the beginning of each year.

The Youth Advisory Group insights and advice are officially reported to the Minister of Education and distributed to relevant Ministry groups and education sector agencies once the meeting minutes have been approved by the members. Each report will be proactively released to the public.

Membership

The Youth Advisory Group will include up to 12 members. If required, additional members may be brought into the Youth Advisory Group for their specialist knowledge and experience.

The Youth Advisory Group is expected to have a representative balance of:

  • gender diversity,
  • ethnic diversity,
  • balance of regional diversity across New Zealand,
  • and where possible:
    • inclusion of disability perspective,
    • inclusion of socioeconomic diversity,
    • consideration of different types of education, including Māori-medium, boarding, school, online education delivery, home schooling and NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training),
    • due consideration of different types of life experience that impact on education and learning (such as learning support, international study, ESOL (English as a Second Language), or LGBQTI+.

Criteria

Members must:

  • be aged between 14 – 18 years as of 1 January 2019,
  • have the ability to work with other people and in a team,
  • be proactive and committed to representing their own perspectives,
  • be approachable and an effective communicators,
  • return the signed parental, guardian or caregiver consent (where applicable),
  • be able to commit to the meeting schedule,
  • attend at least 3 of the 4 meetings per year, and
  • be able to travel to Wellington to attend meetings.

Terms of Appointment and Appointment Process

The standard term of appointment (or tenure) for each member will be for up to one year or at the discretion of the Minister of Education. The term of appointment can be less than one year if a member resigns or no longer meets the criteria.

Individuals who are interested in applying to be on the Youth Advisory Group need to meet the criteria as listed above and register through the online process.

Officials will shortlist candidates based on the criteria set out above, and make recommendations to the Minister of Education. The Ministry of Education will ensure an appropriate mix of diversity from across New Zealand.

The Minister of Education will approve the members.

Operation, induction, training and review

The Ministry of Education will set up a secretariat to oversee the administration and support of the Youth Advisory Group, including any costs.

All members joining the Youth Advisory Group will receive an orientation pack and information explaining the Ministry of Education functions and processes, the role of the Minister of Education and the purpose of the Youth Advisory Group.

The Terms of Reference will be reviewed as required. All changes to the Terms of Reference will be subject to the approval of the Minister of Education.

Annex 1: Role description for the Youth Advisory Group secretariat, facilitator and members

Position  Roles and accountabilities
Secretariat
(Parents and Community Information Programme)
  • Co-ordinating the meetings; including:
    • scheduling dates with the members,
    • travel arrangements of members,
    • organising meeting rooms,
    • organising catering,
    • accommodation (as required),
    • communicate to the YAG members the necessary logistics.
  • Co-design the orientation and orientation pack with the Youth facilitator.
  • Jointly draft meeting agendas with the Youth facilitator for confirmation by the Youth Advisory Group members.
  • Liaise with the Minister’s office before and after each meeting, and provide briefings to the Minister of Education on insights gathered.
  • Liaise with the Ministry’s teams to understand key elements on which to seek feedback from the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Co-design with the Youth facilitator the best way to engage the Youth Advisory Group in the policy content.
  • Liaise with Ministry staff and officials who may be invited to present to the Youth Advisory Group on specific policies that have been identified for discussion at the quarterly meetings.
  • Support the facilitator and members to be able to fulfil their roles.
  • Act as the communication link between the Youth Advisory Group and Minister, or other Ministry staff / officials.
  • Promote the insights of the Youth Advisory Group to Ministry staff and officials to help them effectively engage and understand the youth perspective when updating, developing and implementing policy.
  • Co-ordinate NZ Police vetting for all officials, as required for working with children.
  • Administration support as required.
  • Comply with the Code of Conduct in Annex 2.
Youth Facilitator
  • Jointly draft meeting agendas with the secretariat for confirmation with the Youth Advisory members.
  • Co-design the orientation and orientation pack with the secretariat.
  • Receive information from the secretariat to understand key elements on which to seek feedback from the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Co-design with the secretariat the best way to engage the Youth Advisory Group in the policy content, and translate policy and service design concepts into youth-friendly workshop materials.
  • Planning and facilitating sessions that support young people to provide feedback.
  • Facilitate Youth Advisory Group orientation and quarterly meetings.
  • Provide a written briefing for the secretariat after each meeting ensuring information gathered will inform the Minister.
  • Address issues and concerns of the young people as they arise, and helping them resolve personal issues.
  • Support the development of the members, so that they each gain in some way from the experience.
  • Chaperone members overnight (at the same accommodation) as required.
  • Meet with the secretariat to provide updates and resolve any issues, as needed.
  • Maintaining connections with the secretariat and on a regular basis as required and reasonable for the success of the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Comply with the Code of Conduct in Annex 2.
Ministerial Youth Advisory members 
  • Be proactive and committed to engage with the Minister of Education and Ministry of Education officials and/or facilitator to represent their perspectives on the subject important to them.
  • Provide constructive advice on policy and projects presented for discussion, whilst taking into account the wider needs, issues and views of young people.
  • Be approachable and mindful of other people’s opinions and perspectives.
  • Work effectively and collaboratively with other people.
  • Bring additional youth issues and opportunities to table for consideration.
  • Jointly decide meeting agendas with the facilitator and other members.
  • Arrive at meetings and flights on time.
  • Liaise with the secretariat and/or facilitator about any issues and concerns as they arise, including any personal issues.
  • If for any reason, a member cannot make the dates decided, please let the secretariat and/or facilitator know.
  • Advise the secretariat and/or facilitator if there are any accessibility or other health requirements that they need to be aware of, including but not limited to any dietary requirements, so that the necessary arrangements can be made.
  • Comply with other requirements as detailed in the criteria.
  • Comply with the Code of Conduct in Annex 2.

Non-members who will work with the Youth Advisory Group

Position  Roles and accountabilities
Ministry and agency staff & officials
  • Liaise with the secretariat to provide work programme or policy items where feedback is required from the Youth Advisory Group.
  • Attend the Youth Advisory Group meetings to hear the voice of young people or to answer queries about policy or design as required.
  • Work with the secretariat to engage and understand the youth perspective when updating, developing and implementing policy.

Annex 2: Code of Conduct

1. Objective

The objective of the code is to enhance mutual trust, respect and tolerance between the Youth Advisory Group, the facilitator, secretariat, Ministry of Education and Minister of Education.

2. Statement of Commitment from the Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education is committed to the safety and wellbeing of the participants in the Youth Advisory Group and will provide an open, welcoming and safe environment for everyone.

3. Respecting the rights of others

Everyone participating in the Youth Advisory Group (including members, secretariat and facilitator) must adhere to the following standards of behaviour in performing your duties. You are expected to:

  • respect the rights of all fellow participants in the Youth Advisory Group, and
  • establish and maintain trusting and respectful relationships in the Youth Advisory Group as well as between the Ministry and any third party.

To do this, you must:

  • be respectful of other participants and their cultural background,
  • not discriminate against anyone because of their gender or sexual orientation, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religious or ethical beliefs, disability, marital status, family responsibilities, age or
    physical/psychiatric illness (or other grounds established by the Human Rights Act),
  • respect the privacy of individuals in dealing with personal information in line with the Privacy Act 1993,
  • not harass, bully, intimidate or abuse – whether physical, mental or otherwise – others, and
  • have due regard for the safety of others in the use of Ministry property and resources.

4. Relationships with others

Members will create a social contract where they will agree on how they engage with each other with consideration to how they:

  • treat each other fairly and with respect,
  • respect other people’s and the group’s privacy,
  • maintain confidentiality of information at all time,
  • respect the authority of the government of the day,
  • role model for other young people, and
  • will work to the best of their ability.

Members will conduct their dealings with each other in ways that:

  • are open and honest,
  • maintain integrity,
  • focus on issues rather than personalities,
  • avoid aggressive, offensive and abusive conduct,
  • maintains confidence within the group.

5. Contact with media

All media enquiries are to be redirected to the Ministry of Education in the first instance via the secretariat, who will determine the appropriate person to comment.

  • Views expressed to the media on behalf of the group must have been previously agreed on by the group as a whole.
  • Members are free to express a personal view in the media or the view of other organisations of which they are a member, at any time. However, they must make clear that these represent their private views as an individual.

6. Confidential information

In the course of their duties, members may receive information that they will need to treat as confidential. This may be information that is either system sensitive or is of a personal nature to a particular individual or organisation.

7. Individual queries

Members will not bring individual issues to the group that can best be dealt with by going through the Education General Enquiries channels.

8. Conflict resolution

If a conflict occurs, the group will work with the facilitator or the secretariat to resolve the issue.

Members can raise issues with the:

  • facilitator, if there is an issue related to other group members,
  • facilitator and/or secretariat if there is an issue that is of a personal nature that may impact their contribution to the group,
  • secretariat if concerns are about the facilitator, support facilitator other Ministry staff, or
  • facilitator is there are concerns about the secretariat.

9. Drugs and Alcohol guidelines

  1. If you are under 18 years old, you must not consume any alcohol.
  2. Youth Advisory Group members who are 18 years and over are permitted to consume alcohol at YAG sanctioned social events, but we ask all members to act with discretion outlined in this guideline and the behaviour expectations. Intoxication or drunken behaviour will not be tolerated.
  3. Any form of unlawful drugs are prohibited at all times.
  4. If you have issues or difficulties adhering to these guidelines, please discuss with the YAG facilitator or secretariat.

10. Curfew requirements

All YAG members under 18 must be in the accommodation by 10:00pm each night.

YAG participants who are under 18 years old will be overseen by Ministry of Education staff members or a representative third party.

We will ensure that:

  1. curfew times are met, and
  2. all under 18s are collected, or leave on the travel date as arranged.

11. Breach of Code of Conduct

Where conduct or behaviour is considered unacceptable and/or unsafe, a verbal warning will be given. However, the secretariat or facilitator reserves the right to remove a person from the group and send them home if a serious breach of this code of conduct is established.

12. Criminal Convictions

Members confirm they do not have any serious criminal convictions.

Annex 3: Member Succession Process

Towards the end of the 2018/19 tenure the Ministry of Education will review the success of the outcomes of the Youth Advisory Group process, identify where any improvements could be made and provide a report to the Minister of Education. Any future tenure of the Youth Advisory Group will be initiated with a call for registrations of interest from 14 – 18 year olds throughout New Zealand via different media. Young people interested will complete the registration. This will be done annually.

Annual intake

After the call for registrations of interest is closed, Ministry officials will shortlist applicants for the Minister’s final approval, as per the Terms of Reference.

Replacement of Vacancies

Should vacancies arise, the Ministry will select a young person from the previously shortlisted applicants to bring the full number of members back to 12.

Further information

Youth Advisory Group Terms of Reference [PDF, 199 KB] 

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