Closed 30 Jan 2021

Opened 14 Dec 2020


The Youth Council NI (YCNI) is a statutory body established under the Youth Service (NI) Order 1989 to carry out the following four core functions:

  • advise the Department, the Education Authority and other bodies on the development of the youth service;
  • encourage crosscommunity activity by the youth service;
  • encourage the provision of facilities for the youth service and facilities which are especially beneficial to young persons; and
  • encourage and assist the coordination and efficient use of the resources of the youth service.

In addition, the legislation provided for the Youth Council to assist the efficient provision of administrative services (including training, equipment, and travel expenses) by voluntary headquarter organisations which provide facilities for the youth service; and whose activities are exercisable or whose services are available throughout Northern Ireland and not only in some particular locality.

With the approval of the Department and for the purposes of its functions, the YCNI could also:

  • receive donations and make charges for its services;
  • organise, or assist in the organisation of, conferences, seminars or courses of training;
  • print, publish and disseminate information relating to the youth sector in NI;
  • visit other parts of the United Kingdom and other countries in relation to collating and disseminating good practice;
  • cooperate with other bodies in the exercise or pursuit of any of its functions, and
  • carry out, assist and cooperate with other persons/organisations in carrying out research into and studies concerning matters relating to the youth service.

The full text of the Youth Service (NI) Order is available at:

In 2016 the operational functions of the YCNI were transferred to the Education Authority. Since 2016, the YCNI’s role has been advisory, with its functions limited to the four core functions as above.

Why your views matter

While remaining a statutory organisation, the YCNI has not been operational since 31 March 2019 when the term of office of the then Board members expired. 

As the legislation requires new appointments to be made by the Minister, YCNI has not been functional since that date. 

Following the transfer of the operational function of the YCNI to the Education Authority, the role of the YCNI was limited by direction to its four core functions as set out in the Overview section above. 

Since March 2019 when the YCNI became non-operational, the Department and the EA have sought to engage directly with the sector on the development of the sector, while the EA in partnership with key stakeholders across the Youth Sector has undertaken to support many aspects of these core functions in the absence of an operational YCNI.

To facilitate a decision on the future of the Youth Council, the Minister is keen to seek the views of the sector.  Your organisation is therefore encouraged to complete the survey to inform the Minister's decision. 

What happens next

Following analysis by the Department of Education's Youth Work Policy Team a summary of responses will be made availalbe on both the Department's website and the Education Authority's Youth Services website.



  • Youth Sector and Youth Services