Reforms may see Connexions’ demise

Connexions partnerships could be phased out under children’s
services reforms, a leading figure in the voluntary sector has

Kevin Williams, chief executive of YMCA England, said the
government appeared to want to make children’s trusts “the
pre-eminent body” for 13 to 19 year olds. This was despite setting
up Connexions four years ago to make decisions for the same age
group. Williams was addressing a conference on children’s services
in London.

He said there was also a danger that by virtue of the name
“children’s trust”, less attention could be paid to teenagers’

l Children’s minister Margaret Hodge told the same conference she
hoped the voluntary and community sector would be placed on an
equal footing with local authorities in developing services.

Hodge said, although local authorities had been put in the “driving
seat”, the government was consulting the voluntary and community
sectors on how to strengthen their role, and would use the
regulatory framework to persuade councils to give the voluntary
sector an equal say.

“Councils care about their comprehensive performance assessment,”
she said. “But we can’t force it. This is a bottom-up set of
reforms.” Her comments follow suggestions that the voluntary sector
could take control of failing children’s trusts.

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