Hundreds of youth workers are expected to lobby Parliament later this month in protest at the threat of privatisation of the country’s youth services.
Members of the Community and Youth Workers’ Union will join thousands of other public sector workers from 11 other unions to highlight their fears about essential public services being farmed out to the private sector.
CYWU national officer and former youth and community worker Andre Wilkinson told 0-19 that the union was hoping to win political backing for an amendment to the Education and Inspection Bill that would ensure local authorities had a duty to provide youth services, rather than just facilitate them.
“Responses to the youth green paper should have informed the Education and Inspection Bill,” Wilkinson said. “We want the bill to say that local authorities must provide youth services. This can be in partnership with the voluntary sector – as opposed to just giving them the money to provide the services on their behalf. But there should be some local authority delivery too.”
Wilkinson said that recent developments in Northamptonshire, where the council had decided to commission out the vast majority of its youth services, were a worrying sign of things to come. Northamptonshire Council announced last month that just 32 projects for young people would be retained beyond the end of June while it consulted on its new approach to providing youth services.
“We believe there is a strong agenda to privatise as many public services as possible,” Wilkinson said. “This lobby is the first organised activity of an on-going campaign to keep public services public.”
The lobby of Parliament will take place between 11am and 4pm on June 27. For more information, go to www.cywu.org.uk.