This is an issue which I’m really passionate about so it meant a lot to have support in the room for the principle of involving young people in national policy development. I’m going to continue working on the idea through my PhD and youth work projects.Alice Weavers, PhD student at King's and winner of Policy Idol 2023
31 March 2023
ECS student wins Policy Idol 2023
ECS postgraduate researcher Alice Weavers was voted Policy Idol 2023 for her idea of gov.uk/youth, a platform to involve young people in national policy-making.
Alice Weavers, currently completing her PhD in the School of Education, Communication & Society, entered the Policy Idol 2023 competition with the idea for an information and participation platform to involve young people in policy-making, that would be youth-led and co-designed by policy-makers together with young people – called gov.uk/youth.
Policy Idol is an annual competition organised by the Policy Institute and open to all current students at King’s College London, in which contestants pitch their policy ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of politics, academia and industry.
Alice’s idea stems from her previous policy work on government youth voice projects in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and her PhD research, for which she has interviewed over 100 young people and policymakers to understand their experiences in policy-making.
During the finals on 30 March, she told the judges her findings indicate that most young people feel alienated by politics and politicians, are not sure where to go to share their views, and don’t feel listened to despite wanting to get involved with finding solutions to issues that affect them.
With gov.uk/youth, Alice wanted to build on the gov.uk website and existing youth voice projects to create a new platform aimed at young people to bridge this disconnect. Inclusive of diverse youth experiences, the platform would aim to inform young people about government policy, engage them in participation opportunities, and update them on policy outcomes, including how their views would make a difference to policy decisions.
Alice commented: “I really enjoyed taking part in Policy Idol and I’m delighted to have won as there were lots of amazing policy ideas in the final! It was a great opportunity to share findings from my PhD research and to make the case for more youth participation in government policy-making."
Professor Sharon Gewirtz, one of Alice’s supervisors and the Principal Investigator of the Young Lives, Young Futures project in the School of Education, Communication & Society, said: “I was delighted, but not surprised, to see Alice win this award. Her GOV.UK/YOUTH proposal is an ingenious idea for ensuring that young people can participate in national policy-making in a meaningful way and at scale. As the judges recognised, because of the work Alice has invested, her proposal is both feasible and radical."
There is a growing realisation that, as Alice puts it, there should be ‘no policy about young people, without young people’ and I am sure the fact that her proposal has won this prestigious award will be hugely encouraging to the community of youth participation activists who have been fighting long and hard to ensure that young people have meaningful opportunities to help set the public policy-making agenda and shape the policy decisions that will affect their present and future lives.Sharon Gewirtz, Professor of Education in the School of Education, Communication & Society, and co-director of the Centre for Public Policy Research
Alice has a background in youth and community work and is a qualified youth worker. She is also a member of the project team of Young Lives, Young Futures, an ESRC-funded collaboration between King’s and the Edge Foundation, and was previously a Policy Advisor in the DCMS Youth Policy Team.