Youth policy is, by definition, cross-sectorial (horizontal public policy) and it is a good systemic example of how the cross-sectorial policy should be implemented. Cross-sectorial cooperation, structures of cooperation, and youth policy principles, are legally defined in a majority of countries in Europe, however, it is not always sufficient. Many challenges prevent effective cooperation from emerging.
Cross-sectorial cooperation is effective when different agencies, their experts, and young people and their representatives work together. Agencies often do not realize that cooperation is an effective way of achieving their objectives. Awareness of the wider context is the core competence of the specialist, which helps to create an added value.
Rigid subordination is a common feature of the public sector, it originates from the hierarchical structure and strictly regulated procedures. Meanwhile, the NGOs have a less hierarchical structure and more flexible working methods. Hence these different organizational cultures find it difficult to cooperate. Therefore, the human factor – the willingness to cooperate is especially important to ensure effective cooperation. Other essential requirements for the development of effective cross-sectorial cooperation are the personal and social competencies of individuals involved in cooperation processes, and their understanding of the added value and the broader context that cooperation has to offer.
In order to assess the efficiency of measures, it is important to collect information on how successful the agencies were in implementation of the projects/ ideas devoted to work with youth. This would allow all parties to not only assess what has been done, but it will be a great tool to share experiences and learn about each other. There are effective measurements: for example, an annual report on investment and effort; or an annual youth conference in the Parliament or the municipality.
High turnover of both young people and representatives of institutions is a challenge faced in long-term cooperation. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the experiences and best practices can be transferred.