Agenda item

Scrutiny Report: Youth Strategy Task Group

To consider a report, (including recommendations), from the Youth Strategy Scrutiny Task Group Review.


The report to be presented by Cllr Lesley Williams.


Cllr Lesley Williams, presented the findings, (including recommendations), of the Youth Strategy Scrutiny Task Group Review. The review had been undertaken following a motion to full council in March 2019 requesting the development of a ‘Youth Strategy’ for 8 to 24 year olds in Gloucestershire.


The membership of the task group included; Cllrs Carole Allaway-Martin, Stephen Davies, Terry Hale, Colin Hay, Steve Robinson, Eva Ward, Lesley Williams and Suzanne Williams. The task group had received support from the Children and Families Commissioning Team.


Drawing attention to the task group recommendations, Cllr Williams said that the work of the task group had been very positive, and had helped to identify a number of young people who, without the work of the task group, might not have received the attention they required to address the issues they were experiencing. Work was ongoing to consider several areas of concern. These included, an insufficient number of social workers, training needs and fragmented youth work.


Cllr Williams questioned the level of preventative work by the council and urged Cabinet to consider the negative impact of not investing in a more proactive approach to improving the life chances of young people across the county.


Thanking officers for their support, Cllr Williams proposed that the following recommendations be agreed:


  1. That the direction of travel of council youth support services and council-supported youth provision, becomes more preventative. This means reaching out to groups of young people who may be on the cusp but have not yet been referred by police, education, health or social care for specialist youth support;


  1. That the council works with its partners to organise a programme of regular events for people and organisations working in the youth sector (from whatever angle) for the purpose of networking, collaboration and continuous professional development. Some of these are countywide, others specific to a district.


  1. That the council works with its partners to agree a new common approach to the youth work training pathway, from youth leadership to volunteer training to degree-level professional qualification. To support this, the council to build in to any specification for youth support services a requirement to offer and support full youth work apprenticeships at various levels.


  1. That an investment is made into council youth support services to enhance outreach and street-based youth work delivery across the county, and to bring professional youth work expertise into supporting community initiatives. The minimum number of full-time JNC-qualified youth workers in the YST is one per district, each supported by at least five part-time workers (i.e. approximately double current levels).


  1. That an investment is made into council-supported youth provision through an adequately resourced grant programme devolved to division or district level, and supported by officers, to support and sustain the valuable preventative youth work by local voluntary and community sector organisations.


Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, thanked the task group for its work. He also thanked officers for the extensive work they had provided in supporting the task group.


Cllr Boyles stated that the proposals from the review would be added to the council’s existing work in developing a wider Youth Strategy for 2020; this included considering measures to help shape the future of the young people of Gloucestershire. Cllr Boyles welcomed the task group observations and offered to discuss the proposals in more detail after the meeting. 


Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, praised the task group for its work. Referring to the innovative work being undertaken throughout the county, Cllr Hawthorne suggested that the report be used to draw on the positive aspects of the council’s work and referenced to when considering areas requiring improvement.


The work of the task group had been presented to the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee and considered by the Children and Families Commissioning Team. 


The report was noted.

Supporting documents: