Youth & Policy and CONCEPT go Digital

The two leading journals in the fields of Youth Work and Youth policy, Community Education and Community Development, Youth & Policy and CONCEPT respectively, are about to enter a new and exciting era.  Having lost their publishers, the National Youth Agency and the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education, both have decided to launch themselves afresh as web based journals.

At this moment we are awaiting the latest news about CONCEPT’s rebirth on November 20 from our Scottish friends, whilst we have received the following message from the editorial board of Youth&Policy.

As you may be aware due to financial difficulties the NYA has closed its publications unit and as a consequence will not be publishing Youth and Policy in the future.

The Youth and Policy Editorial Board have been expecting this decision for sometime and as a consequence have devoted considerable time to planning the future direction and style of the journal.

Two publishers expressed a wish to ‘sign us up’ and this would certainly have secured the long term future of the journal. However although this route may appear superficially attractive we have decided not to join a major publishing house. Our reasons for taking this decision are:-

1.      The cover price of the journal following such a move would probably double and therefore it would lose a sizeable proportion of its non university-based readership;

2.      Although it would be readily available electronically to university students and staff it would not be accessible to practitioners and others via this method.

As a consequence we have opted to re-launch ourselves as a free web based journal. Some web journals are of a poor quality but we intend to invest a sizeable proportion of the reserves we have built-up during the last 25 years in employing professional programmers who will produce an attractive and accessible web journal. Thus from early 2010 Youth and Policy be available three times a year and contain, as before, a range of articles and reviews.

We remain committed to providing a critical space to discuss policy and practice relating to young people in society. We hope you will continue to enjoy the journal in its new format. Those subscribers with outstanding paid subscriptions will be refunded for your unused portions. Publication will now be suspended until 2010 while we restructure and prepare for the web-based launch. We have also created a facebook group entitled ‘Youth & Policy’ which should be accessible via the following link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=139373184580 (you will be prompted to log into a facebook account in order to access this group).

Thanks for your patience during our very own ‘digital switch-over’, and please do keep in touch!

Yours sincerely

Tony, Jean, Ruth, Aylssa, Tracey and Naomi

Youth & Policy editorial group.

 

Selfishly we are very pleased with these developments. It means that the material from both these challenging publications will be readily available for comment and criticism. In the past stimulating pieces have often gathered dust on library shelves. This time round there is a greater chance of encouraging responses to challenging articles, of creating a genuine dialogue about the issues raised. To be honest there is every possibility that we can widen the readership of both these pioneering journals. We can’t wait to see the first new editions – must be an excuse for a celebratory drink!

PS  CONCEPT is short for the Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory.  You have to admit it is snappier!

PPS Now what would be brilliant is if both journals downloaded all their past copies into archives. But this is being giddy. For instance Y&P is up to Number 102! We’ll leave this possibility to another day.

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chatting with Young People about the ‘Posties’ on Strike

Press coverage of the Communication Workers’ Union dispute with Royal Mail, even when slightly sympathetic, shakes its collective head at the apparent hopelessness of the workers’ situation. We get little insight into the day-to-day experience of the workers themselves. It is not stretching a point to note that this lack of anecdotal analysis chimes with our concern within Youth Work to encourage workers to tell their stories of practice. Thus it is fascinating on a number of counts to read this detailed account of the pressures upon the postal workers and the impact upon their lives of  ‘new managerialism’.

The Diary of Ray Mayall begins:

Old people still write letters the old-fashioned way: by hand, with a biro, folding up the letter into an envelope, writing the address on the front before adding the stamp. Mostly they don’t have email, and while they often have a mobile phone – bought by the family ‘just in case’ – they usually have no idea how to send a text. So Peter Mandelson wasn’t referring to them when he went on TV in May to press for the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, saying that figures were down due to competition from emails and texts.

I spluttered into my tea when I heard him say that. ‘Figures are down.’ We hear that sentence almost every day at work when management are trying to implement some new initiative which involves postal workers like me working longer hours for no extra pay, carrying more weight, having more duties.

It’s the joke at the delivery office. ‘Figures are down,’ we say, and laugh as we pile the fifth or sixth bag of mail onto the scales and write down the weight in the log-book. It’s our daily exercise in fiction-writing. We’re only supposed to carry a maximum of 16 kilos per bag, on a reducing scale: 16 kilos the first bag, 13 kilos the last. If we did that we’d be taking out ten bags a day and wouldn’t be finished till three in the afternoon.

‘Figures are down,’ we chortle mirthlessly, as we load the third batch of door-to-door catalogues onto our frames, adding yet more weight to our bags, and more minutes of unpaid overtime to our clock. We get paid 1.67 pence per item of unaddressed mail, an amount that hasn’t changed in ten years. It is paid separately from our wages, and we can’t claim overtime if we run past our normal hours because of these items. We also can’t refuse to deliver them. This junk mail is one of the Royal Mail’s most profitable sidelines and my personal contribution to global warming: straight through the letterbox and into the bin.

His tale ends:

Like many businesses, the Royal Mail has a pet name for its customers. The name is ‘Granny Smith’. It’s a deeply affectionate term. Granny Smith is everyone, but particularly every old lady who lives alone and for whom the mail service is a lifeline. When an old lady gives me a Christmas card with a fiver slipped in with it and writes, ‘Thank you for thinking of me every day,’ she means it. I might be the only person in the world who thinks about her every day, even if it’s only for long enough to read her name on an envelope and then put it through her letterbox. There is a tension between the Royal Mail as a profit-making business and the Royal Mail as a public service. For most of the Royal Mail management – who rarely, if ever, come across the public – it is the first. To the delivery officer – to me, and people like me, the postmen who bring the mail to your door – it is more than likely the second.

We had a meeting a while back at which all the proposed changes to the business were laid out. Changes in our hours and working practices. Changes to our priorities. Changes that have led to the current chaos. We were told that the emphasis these days should be on the corporate customer. It was what the corporations wanted that mattered. We were effectively being told that quality of service to the average customer was less important than satisfying the requirements of the big businesses.

Someone piped up in the middle of it. ‘What about Granny Smith?’ he said. He’s an old-fashioned sort of postman, the kind who cares about these things.

‘Granny Smith is not important,’ was the reply. ‘Granny Smith doesn’t matter any more.’

So now you know.

The whole detailed story is well worth your attention and well worth bearing in mind if your young people wonder why folk are forced to go on strike.

Thanks to Peter for the link.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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