Decision Maker: Children, Young People & Education Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report provides the Children, Young People and Education Committee with an overview of proposals to implement an equitable, consistent, branded, neighbourhood youth offer for universal, open access provision. It is the final element of the Youth Offer Review to be actioned, following the consultation which took place in summer 2019 and the report to Cabinet in February 2020. The neighbourhood model responds to the views and wishes of local young people and outlines the contribution of the Local Authority, The Hive Youth Zone and other partners within the developing Wirral Youth Collective.
Resolved – That delegated authority be given to the Director of Children’s Services to carry out actions for the delivery of a universal, open access youth provision as set out in Paragraph 3.6, 3.16, 3.18 and Appendix 2 to the report.
Reasons for the decision:
Provision for universal, open-access youth activity is the final part of the Youth Offer review to be implemented. In February 2020, Cabinet requested further exploration of options which have been completed and presented in detail via a workshop for Elected Members on 12 April 2021. Feedback from Elected Members during the workshop session has been considered and amendments made to the model as appropriate.
Officers and Elected Members alike understand the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on young people. There have been many informative reports and surveys published, both nationally and locally, highlighting how important local youth services are in supporting young people to recovery from the effects of missed schooling, missed opportunities for social and emotional development, and responding to the impact of hidden harm. It is our duty to ensure that youth services adequately support recovery for young people and implementing a localised, youth offer is a key task in enabling that to be achieved.
Alternative options considered:
Continuing with the existing provision for universal, open-access youth provision is not an option. Known as the ‘youth services duty’, the Council has a statutory duty to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient provision of educational and recreational leisure-time activities for young people. It is the duty of the Local Authority to consult with young people as to how they would like that provision to be delivered. The Youth Offer consultation clearly outlined that the existing provision did not adequately meet young people’s needs for local, equitable, high-quality activity.
The opportunity to commission all universal youth provision has been considered however, this option was not supported. The benefits of the Local Authority retaining the lead role in delivery of youth provision are significant, particularly in terms of maintaining quality assurance and strengthening joint working with wider Children’s Services and safeguarding teams. A mixed economy of Local Authority and third sector delivery is preferable.
Report author: Elizabeth Hartley
Publication date: 17/06/2021
Date of decision: 15/06/2021
Decided at meeting: 15/06/2021 - Children, Young People & Education Committee
Effective from: 23/06/2021