Participation Strategy Exemplar


Section 19 of the Children and Families Act 2014 explicitly refers to the importance of children and young people participating ‘as fully as possible’ in the decisions that affect their lives. Developing a participation strategy is the first step in ensuring that this is done to a high standard and is embedded across the local authority.

The recent Ofsted SEND inspections have highlighted that although there are pockets of participation good practice, there is need for more support around the development of participation strategies. This has been reflected in Making Participation Work’s regional learning events.

This document has been developed by looking at existing participation strategies to identify good practice. It has been developed in co-production with children and young people with a range of strategic participation experiences, who gave input on what a good participation strategy should include.

This resource is part of the Making Participation Work programme, a joint partnership between the Council for Disabled Children and KIDS, and funded by the Department for Education. For more information about the Making Participation Work programme, visit us at: practice/making-participation-work

Using this document

All local authorities work within a unique set of circumstances, and your circumstances should be reflected in your participation strategy. The strategy should be developed in co-production with children and young people, and this will have a significant impact on the document. As such, this exemplar should not be used as a template, but rather as guidance for developing a participation strategy.


We would like to thank everyone who has commented on drafts during the development of this document, particularly the children and young people who have worked with us. All quotes are either directly or paraphrased from children and young people in the course of participation work. The final content of this document is entirely the responsibility of the Council for Disabled Children.