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Case study

Youth Voice Bucks

The restructure, rebrand and relaunch of a vibrant youth participation service for Buckinghamshire County Council.


The Care Leaders worked with Buckinghamshire County Council to restructure, rebrand and relaunch their youth participation service. Over 18-months our role was to craft a new participation service and strategy, create a brand that young people would relate to and develop a new website that was made it easy for young people to navigate.

We developed:

  • Participation Service Restructure – our role was to bring together the two teams to streamline engagement and create a single service that could ensure all young people could be engaged with effectively, this was called ‘Youth Voice Bucks’.
  • Youth Participation Strategy – co-designed with young people, staff and leaders we identified gaps, opportunities and a new vision for youth participation that was communicated across the council.
  • Youth Voice Bucks Brand – using talented graphic designers and illustrators we developed a brand that represented young people whilst maintaining elements of the council’s brand central.
  • New Website –young people needed to access information about opportunities, rights and entitlements. We developed a new website in line with ‘government design principles’, the standards set by central government to ensure this website ticked all the boxes. It is easy to use, youth friendly and accessible to all young people.

The Care Leaders worked alongside a project manager, project sponsor, operational lead, communication and ICT experts and young people to build Youth Voice Bucks and ensure young people accessed participation opportunities in Buckinghamshire.

Using our digital capacities and our experience in design, communication and engagement we:

Restructured Youth Participation

We joined two teams responsible for participation and merged them into one service – Youth Voice Bucks.

Build a Brand

We built a vibrant brand to ensure Youth Voice Bucks was appealing to young people and communicate in their language.

Youth Participation Strategy

We co-created a strategy to ensure the council were clear on their participation objectives and the impact. We made a young person’s version too!

A Forum of Participation Champions

We developed and lead a forum of 19 leaders from across 11 service areas with the mission to improve participation. They identified gaps, created opportunities and built capacity.

Training from Lived Experience Leaders

We provided training to upskill the workforce in engagement with young people from all backgrounds.

Participation Service Launch

Bringing together children’s services and their partners we organised and facilitated a successful conference to launch Youth Voice Bucks.

Lead Member Training

Ensuring participation was communicated at the highest level, we provided lead members training about youth advocacy, engagement and their role in corporate parenting.

New Website

We developed a functional Youth Voice Bucks website to make engaging with young people easy and accessible.

Strategic Leadership

We developed a 6-phase approach to discover councils vision for participation and created a plan with clear outputs, outcomes and timescales.

We had a strategic approach to improve participation in Buckinghamshire

We developed a 6-phase approach to help Buckinghamshire create a new participation service for their young people. We knew that Buckinghamshire were committed to youth participation and had noticed a gap in their provision. It was important to us to support senior leaders, staff and young people to understand participation, what we were going to try and achieve and take full ownership of the project.


Phase 0: Pre- Research

Before our work began, we worked with senior leaders to develop a vision for the project and explain what they wanted to achieve.

Phase 1: Research

Stakeholders met with us from across children’s services to identify gaps and opportunities in participation and co-created a structure to the strategy.

Phase 2: Design

We facilitated workshops to design the website and brand, we developed training to upskill the workforce and authored a draft participation strategy.

Phase 3: Build

The brand was designed, the website was built and we finalised the strategy and training programme ready for launch.

Phase 4: Launch

Bringing together children’s services and their partners we planned a conference to launch Youth Voice Bucks, a training offer and the website.

Phase 5: Sustain

We provided training and ongoing support to develop peoples skills in participation and engagement.


We worked partnership with everybody to find opportunities to improve participation.

The participation strategy was co-designed with 19 ‘Participation Champions’ these were staff who volunteered from 11 service areas.

Each Champion was set the task to author a vision for participation in their service area, identify gaps in their engagement and find opportunities for young people to meaningfully engage. From this we developed 5 key areas to improve participation.

Annual Surveys

To ensure young people didn’t have to say the same things in different surveys.


Provide young people training so they have the skills to develop services.

Digital Offer

Produce a new website so young people could access opportunities and information easily.

Youth Apprenticeships

Offer apprentices withing services so that young people can access work and learn at the same time.

Mentorship Programme

Provide volunteers from across the council to be mentors for young people to learn these skills and hobbies.

Flower Flower Flower Flower

Our Participation Strategy did more than just develop opportunities for young people, it developed the whole council.

Our strategy communicated how the organisation needed to build an environment for participation to exist. We provided guidance to staff so that our culture was that participation was everyone’s responsibility. We created a simple and rememberable framework that explained how we engaged with young people, so everyone had the practical skills to engage. The council knew for participation to work it requires a focus on the whole service, not just spotlight the participation team.

Our Youth Participation Strategy Developed:


Organisational Challenges:


Rules of Engagement:


Participation Principles:


We developed a brand that engaged young people.

The council knew that their brand was acting as a barrier to young people engaging. We worked alongside their participation service, young people and the councils design and communications team to develop a brand that engaged young people.

The Youth Voice Bucks Brand:

  • Logo
  • Colour Scheme
  • Icons

We created a website to ensure young people engaged with opportunities

The council asked us to develop a new website so that young people could access opportunities, read important information and ensure it was accessible and easy to navigate for all young people.

Flower Flower Flower

Following guidance set by government (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and Government Design Principles) we developed a website that all young people could access.

Easy to use

The website was intuitive to use, easy to navigate and designed with an exceptional brand.

Simple Content Management

We ensured the council has an easy system to update and manage content.

Designed for Young People

We were careful to ensure that our website followed principles set out by government to ensure it’s designed for the people who use it.

Web and Mobile Friendly

The website was responsive enabling it to be viewed on desktop and mobile.

GDPR Compliant

We made sure we developed the website to comply with GDPR.

What people say
What people say

Who we work with

Care Leavers Middlesbrough Children Matter Youth Voice Bucks The House Project Buckingham Council Department For Education Leeds City Council
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