Youth Support Services
The committee will receive a report to update it on the changes in youth support service provision. This is an opportunity for members to comment on the review and options for the future to be considered by the Cabinet Member for Vulnerable Families before Cabinet makes a decision in June.
27.1 Cllrs Allen and Awford declared an interest in this item both being members of the Police Authority.
27.2 Members had received a pre-meeting briefing on the options for the future tendering of the Youth Support Services contract by Linda Uren, Commissioning Director Children and Families. It was noted that the current contract with Prospects Services Ltd would end in March 2013 and that Cabinet would be reviewing the commissioning options for the new contract at their meeting in June 2012.
27.3 A report which updated members on the work of the Youth Support Service since it had been restructured and the commissioning options for the new Youth Support Service contract had been circulated. Francis Gobey, Outcomes Manager Youth Support drew attention to the three case studies in the report which provided a flavour of how the restructured integrated Youth Support Service was working to support vulnerable young people. The case studies also highlighted that vulnerable young people were likely to experience a range of complex problems, including behavioural, being at risk of offending, homelessness and health related issues.
27.4 Francis drew members’ attention to the stakeholder and staff consultation exercise which was currently underway. Members were invited to contribute to the consultation by completing and returning the questionnaire (attached to the committee report) no later than 5pm on 18th May 2012. The objective of the review was to get some qualitative feedback on how the current service was operating in terms of outcomes for vulnerable young people, the extent to which service and professional specialisms were working together to meet individual needs and whether the service was reaching the young people most in need. The consultation paper also asked staff and stakeholders for their views on two commissioning options:
· Option A that GCC offers a contract on leadership and management of the Youth Support Services as now with current employment arrangements maintained and no GCC staff transferring to the contract holder in 2013 or
· Option B that GCC offers a contract on leadership and management, as now, but including employment of staff delivering the targeted service, with all GCC staff transferring to the contract holder in 2013 expect for those staff whose main responsibility was Looked After Children or children leaving care, who would remain GCC employed.
27.5 It was noted that initial feedback from focus group meetings was that stakeholders were pleased with how the new system was working and that despite all the change this was not adversely impacting on outcomes for vulnerable young people. Some staff had made the point that they had gone through a significant amount of change in recent years and they wanted to minimise any disruption from further change.
27.6 During the discussion the following points were made:
· County Councillors needed to be better informed about local initiatives such as the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) pilot in Tewkesbury which had been highlighted in one of the case studies. Members requested that further discussion should take place before extending the remit of the pilot to include anti-social behaviour as there were conflicting views in the community about what constituted anti-social behaviour.
· There needed to be better communication on how youth support service area teams and CYP locality teams were working together, and on district provision of youth activities. County Councillors would then be in a better position to inform their local communities about local activities for young people. It was that there should be updates in Member Matters to keep members better informed.
Action: Francis Gobey
· A member noted from the case studies that housing was a particular issue for vulnerable young people and suggested that this maybe an issue for future investigation by the Scrutiny Committee.
Action: Lead Members
· Some members expressed a preference for keeping as many services in-house as possible and were philosophically against the idea of a profit making organisation running services for vulnerable young people.
· Some of the funding for youth crime prevention work will transfer to the new Police Commissioner in 2013. It was important that the new Commissioner was fully briefed on the work of the Youth Support Service as soon as practicable after they had been elected.
· Members needed to receive confirmation as soon as possible that the district-led event in Cheltenham to share the good practice that was emerging in districts on positive activities for young people was going ahead on 16th July 2012.
Action: Francis Gobey
· Schools had a number of competing pressures and priorities and therefore may not be best place to be able to identify and refer potential vulnerable young to the Youth Support Service.
27.7 It was noted that the officers were working with the Police Authority to produce a number of documents to inform the incoming Police Commissioner, including a Commissioning Framework which would include information about the Youth Support Service. It was pointed out that uncertainties about funding would remain whoever was responsible for employing the staff and under the current arrangements a good proportion of staff were employed by Prospects and were not GCC staff. If staff GCC staff were transferred to another organisation, TUPE would apply. The procurement process for the new contract would include quality as well as value for money.
27.8 The Committee thanked Francis Gobey for his report and presentation. It was agreed that a vote of thanks from the Committee should be sent to the staff of the Youth Support Service who had experienced a considerable amount of change in recent years but who had remained flexible and adaptable and had continued to deliver positive outcomes to young people.
Action: Julie Hill/Cllr Awford
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