Over the last decade, the rhetoric of participation has become prominent within policy and practice pertaining to children and young people. But even amongst the most ardent supporters of children and young people's participation, there are concerns about tokenism, lack of impact and consultation fatigue. Participation is not yet firmly embedded in structures and services, leading to a significant risk that at least in some arenas it may be the 'fad' of the last decade (particularly in the context of financial austerity) rather than a lasting and sustained investment.
Children in Scotland (CIS), the national umbrella agency for organisations and professionals working with children and their families, has established Scotland's Children's Sector Forum, aiming to provide a powerful, unified voice in national-level policy-making. The project aims to identify sustainable ways of working which support children and young people's participation - that are effective in influencing policy and meaningful to the adults, children and young people involved - for Scotland's Children's Sector Forum and thus national policy-making. Barnardo's, as a children's organisation with established practice in supporting participation of children, will co-ordinate children's participation in the Forum.