What is Participation?

Participation means you have the opportunity to express your own views, to have a real influence in decision making and to be empowered to make decisions yourself.

You have a right to be involved in the decisions that affect you.

Your participation is essential for improving the services you use: professionals need to respond to your needs!

You are an expert of your own experience.

Roger Hart’s Ladder of Participation

Roger Hart’s theory of young people’s participation shows that there is a range of ways children and young people can be involved in participation.

The ladder identifies eight levels of children and young people’s participation. The ladder of participation is designed to encourage those working with children to think more closely about the nature and purpose of children’s participation.

Levels of Participation

  • Child-initiated shared decisions with adults:
    • Happens when projects or programs are initiated by young people and decision making is shared between young people and adults. This empowers young people while also enabling young people to access and learn from experiences of adults.
  • Child-initiated and directed:
    • Occurs when young people initiate and direct a program or project. Adults are involved in a supportive role.
  • Adult-initiated shared decisions with children:
    • Occurs when projects or programs are initiated by adults but the decision making is shared with young people.
  • Consulted and informed:
    • Happens when young people give advice on projects or programs designed and run by adults. The young people are informed about how their voice will be used.
  • Assigned but informed:
    • Young people are assigned a role and informed about how and why they are being involved.

Roger Hart’s Ladder of Young People’s Participation is designed to demonstrate that there are different levels of participation, however it is only when children and young people are not informed about the impact of their participation the activity falls below the fourth rung of the ladder into tokenization and manipulation.

It is critical that the results of participation are fed back to children and young people so that they’re able to see the impact they have had.

Our vision

To ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their lives and to help shape services.

We would like to see children and young people be involved at the beginning of decision making processes and informed about the impact of their participation.

Image button encouraging you to get involved. In the middle there is the ATLAS logo and surrounding it, It reads: Get Involved! "No Decision About Us Without Us!