Conservatives table constructive proposals to boost the involvement of community and voluntary sector organisations in delivering the Council’s Youth Service.
AT NEXT week’s Policy & Resources Committee meeting, Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, will move a Notice of Motion which, if agreed, would call a halt to City Council Budget proposals to terminate its Youth Collective contract in March – 6 months earlier than planned.
Under the Council’s plans, all Youth Services would be delivered by the Council’s ‘in-house’ team, without any assessment being made of its relative effectiveness and value for money compared to the rejected voluntary sector providers.
Conservative Group Spokesman for Children & Young People, Andrew Wealls, said: “We accept that savings need to be made in the Youth Service but that makes it all the more ridiculous that the Council continues to bury its head in the sand over who provides them. All we are asking is that a proper commissioning exercise be undertaken by the Council, with a genuinely level playing field for all organisations who want to provide youth services in the city. This issue has become totemic for us and is symptomatic of a wider unwillingness by the Green Party – invariably backed by the Labour Party – to accept that Council funded services can be provided more effectively and more cheaply by other organisations in the community, voluntary and independent sectors. Sadly, this unwillingness is based on nothing more than political dogma.”
Fellow Children & Young People Committee member and Deputy Group Leader, Dee Simson, added: “Many councils have stopped funding youth services altogether in recent years but we think that they continue to make a vital contribution to the well-being of young people here in Brighton & Hove. It is, therefore, very sad that the excellent voluntary groups who make up the Youth Collective are being jettisoned by the Council without any assessment of the value of the work they do for the city’s young people.”
Cllr Warren Morgan, Leader of Labour and Co-operative, said: “As a trustee at the Crew Club in Whitehawk for many years, and having only this week visited the youth project in Hangleton and Knoll, I value tremendously the work done with young people both by staff in the council and people working in the voluntary sector. It is appalling that the Conservative-led governments cuts to council funding put these services at risk, and that the Greens have refused to review the in-house service.
“We want to see a full review of youth services in the city, to see how front-line services can be protected and best use made of the expertise in the voluntary and community sector. We don’t back a Tory rush job that risks privatisation, but one that properly secures the future for our young people.”
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