Latest Public Sector News

13.01.16

Six councils to reconfigure youth services using £200,000 fund

The second round of the government’s Delivering Differently programme, this time focusing on young people, has come to an end with six winning local authorities.

From the 23 councils that applied, the Cabinet Office chose the six that best showed a commitment to identifying new approaches to provide youth services in a more creative and pioneering way.

Options put forward by these local authorities include ‘spinning out’ services into staff-led mutual and establishing independent youth trusts or joint ventures with private, voluntary or community sector groups.

Rob Wilson, minister for Civil Society, said: “This funding will help local authorities provide youth services in more effective ways, inspiring them to find better ways of delivering more within their budgets.”

The winning authorities – Brighton & Hove, Devon, Hartlepool, Lewisham, St Helens and Trafford – will each receive a share of this year’s £200,000 funding cash pot.

They will now collaborate with the Cabinet Office to agree on the support needed to implement a new youth service delivery model.

Devon County Council, for example, will get £20,000 over the coming months to establish an independent social enterprise that can run the region’s youth service in future. The council agreed on this measure last year because it was “the only way” of protecting the service from budget cuts, since it will now have access to money currently out of reach for council services and departments.

It intends to set it up as a not-for-profit mutual organisation with staff employed from the service’s current youth workers. The council will ensure it meets its statutory responsibility for young people by commissioning the new organisation to deliver services on the council’s behalf, subject to a tendering process.

Its cabinet member with responsibility for the service, Cllr Barry Parsons, said: “It’s a great bonus for the county council to be able to show the high value placed on this service, despite the budget cuts we’re suffering. We want the service to have firmer footing that is less affected by the constraints of council funding.

“We’re confident that this is the best way to protect the service’s future for young people, while ensuring that the staff, who are already known within their communities, continue to provide the service.”

In the first round of the programme in 2014, 10 councils were chosen from more than 150 applicants to receive up to £100,000 each to support the transformation of their public services.

This was a more general scheme focused on council services as a whole, with funding opening up opportunities for bespoke professional support to undertake a strategic review of all available options, guidance from an expert panel and networking prospects.

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