On 21st October 2019 Dr Thomas Loughran presented findings from our research in Wales to the Welsh Government’s Democratic Renewal steering group. The steering group is working on the imminent implementation of ‘Votes-at-16’ in Wales and is made up of policy-makers from a number of relevant government departments as well as representatives from local government, young people’s advocacy groups and other stakeholders. Our presentation focused on the specific challenges of implementing ‘Votes-at-16’ in Wales that we had identified from our focus group research with young people in Wales. Key issues include improving young people’s knowledge of Welsh political institutions, ensuring that voting is perceived as an opportunity rather than a burden and the knowledge young people would like to receive from political education.
It is particularly exciting to have the opportunity for our research to impact the policy debate in Wales. We are grateful for the steering group for inviting us and for the interesting feedback and discussion that the presentation stimulated. We are looking forward to continuing our work with the steering group to help address these policy challenges as Wales moves closer towards making ‘Votes-at-16’ a reality.