Scrutiny – YP responses

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3 members of Cardiff Youth Council share their views on being part of Scrutiny Committees 

Shifa Shahzad 

Hello, my name is Shifa Shahzad-Khan. I’m 16 years old and the youngest member on Cardiff’s Environment Scrutiny Committee. Being in Scrutiny has taught me invaluable skills. The other members have all been welcoming despite my lack of experience, and I’m honoured to be the representative of the young people in the city. I’m aware that our interests can become overlooked, so I know how great of a responsibility it is to be the mouthpiece for young people all over the city – to represent all of their wants and beliefs. This experience will definitely be something I take forward with me for the rest of my life, helping me to gain confidence in speaking with adults and decision makers and giving me indispensable experience.  

Overall, I’ve loved being a part of the Scrutiny Committee, despite being slightly out of my comfort zone, and I’m extremely grateful for all the help and training I’ve gotten.  




Emily Gao 

Hello, may name is Emily Gao, 16 years old. I’ve loved every part if being in scrutiny for children and young people. It’s made me realise a lot. I would say it’s changed me as a person in a good way. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on scrutiny. I couldn’t thank everyone enough for such a warm welcome to the committee. When I first started it was hard but the training I went to helped me so much with gaining confidence and being able to ask questions. It’s a huge role as a young person to sit there and have a say in all of this. As a young person I want all young people out there to have a say, to express how they really feel. At limes I feel the fear, I feel how big a role this is but if you want to make a difference you have to overcome those fears and that’s what I’ve done. 

Thank you  



Zack Hellard 

I would like to begin by saying that serving on the Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee has been a great honour and the privilege of a lifetime. It has been wonderful to be able to represent my peers, to work with those in local government to ensure that the youth aspect is not forgotten and to learn more about the systems of the economy and culture that form the basis of our society.  

Cardiff is, as always, a wonderful city to live, work and spend time within. I am glad to be able to bring meaningful contributions and ideas to the discussion surrounding the future of the city aiming to be the UK’s first Child Friendly City. This achievement will be a major step forward in protecting Cardiff’s position as a ‘City of Tomorrow’ which puts future generations at the heart of lifelong plans for change and growth.  

Whilst some of the topics have certainly not been the easiest to debate and scrutinise, I am extremely thankful to every member of the committee for welcoming me with warm and open arms; particularly the Chair, Councillor Peter Wong, and Angela Holt, Principal Scrutiny Officer, for their continued support for youth engagement and ensuring each meeting is accessible irrespective of age. In this environment, I have been able to develop several abilities relating to the scrutiny process with help from all involved; including councillors and representatives from all political parties.  

Several individual projects, notably those of the Velodrome and St. David’s Hall were particularly challenging; however, the scrutiny process addressed the concerns of citizens as well as those involved with the outcomes being extremely beneficial. These cases also inspired me further to research the great history of Cardiff, other ongoing projects and to work closer with the community on local concerns and issues relating to their areas; particularly those of street cleansing and education.  

The actual process by informed individuals with expertise in decision making and the ability to scrutinise and question factors ensured the best options were available and clear before any final decisions are made; ensuring that the citizens of Cardiff receive only the best in social and economic developments and policy. Youth involvement has undoubtedly ensured that youth consideration is within all approaches made by Cardiff Council, and I am proud to have been that vessel for development- particularly in ensuring that projects with an impact on children and young people undergo a Child’s Rights Impact Assessment.  

These contributions work for the people, ensuring that considerations for children and young people within our community are made. I am satisfied and reassured that Cardiff is on track to becoming the United Kingdom’s first UNICEF Child Friendly City with the assistance of every member of the council in aiming for this prestigious and worthwhile target.  

I would also like to thank the Child Friendly City Cardiff team for the opportunity to represent Cardiff youth as well as support in dissecting the true issues facing the youth within the capital of Wales and beyond, ensuring that their interests are protected. This effort has also been enabled through my engagement with youth members of the community who are extremely excited to learn that their views are actively considered.  

Looking forward to the next year of scrutiny, I hope to see the same levels of engagement as seen from 2022-2023 with an additional focus on working closer and more cohesively together as members of the same scrutiny board.