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Race and Youth Policy: working with young people
Race and Youth Policy: working with young people

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8 Policy into practice

Now watch Video 3, taken from the BBC programme Subnormal: A British Scandal. While watching Video 3, consider how these controversial policy practices in the 1960s and beyond negatively impacted young Black children’s lives in a range of ways.

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Video 3: Subnormal: A British Scandal
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In the next activity, draw on what you have learned about the role of practitioners in implementing policy, in order to reflect on some examples from your own practice.

Activity 5: Reflecting on your own practice

Timing: 1 hour

First, think of an example from your practice and write a short account of the policy which this work sprang from, and how you interpreted and mediated it in the context of your own work. How much influence did you feel you had in acting as mediator between policy and practice?

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Your experience of working within policy is personal to you, and you will have your own views on how far policy directives can be influenced through debate or practices. Keeping up to date with policy change, and engaging with policy discussions and consultations, is not only an essential part of professional practice; it also offers opportunities for influencing the impact and direction of policy.

In the example of the Prevent policy, it is interesting to note that, by 2009, the government had come to recognise that the focus of the initiative needed to be broadened to include extremism in other parts of society besides the Muslim community – see this article [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Malcolm Payne expresses the relationship between government policy and practitioners, and the responsibility this places on practitioners, as follows.

The national state provides a significant mandate for the work, sets its parameters, provides much of the funding and, through its management and accounting mechanisms, a regulatory framework. Local authorities have significant powers too, but are in many ways subservient to an increasingly interventionist national state. The stance that practitioners take in response to this scenario is critical to the practice models which emerge.

Malcolm Payne (2009, p. 216)