Green Councillors condemned proposals at yesterday’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee to outsource youth work services amid a 25% reduction to next year’s youth work budget, saying the proposals would inevitably lead to poorer outcomes for the city’s young people.
The proposals in the 2015 Youth Work Review were co-produced by young people, based on an assumption of 25% less funding being available compared to previous years. According to Youth Council rep Wednesday Croft, “sadly cuts to budget and services generally don’t mean improvements”, but “we tried our best to mitigate the damage”.
According to Green Councillors, however, while this user-driven approach was welcome, it was completely undermined by setting a fixed starting point of 25% cuts, over which review board members had no say.
Green Councillor Amanda Knight, member of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said:
“I’m gravely concerned about these proposals to outsource the Council’s programme of youth work in the city. We recognise the fantastic work of many community and voluntary sector organisations which carry out youth work, but are appalled to see they are being expected to deliver more and more services while facing a 25% budget cut. This is deeply unfair and is expecting the community and voluntary sector to deliver vital services on the cheap”.
“Opening this process up to any provider means that community and voluntary sector organisations will be forced to compete with the private sector, inevitably driving down service quality as well as pay and working conditions for youth workers. The service and our young people will suffer. At a time when we are seeing a 40% rise in self-harm by young people, we simply cannot reduce support.
“Don’t be fooled by “alternative delivery models” or “commissioning frameworks” – we are talking about a massive cut here which will mean something has to give. While we welcome any approach which involves young people as partners in service delivery, focuses on holistic outcomes and evidence-based interventions, these are just meaningless words unless underpinned by sufficient funding”.