Figures confirm postcode lottery for youth services

There is a huge disparity in spending on youth services between different local authorities, figures collated by the Community and Youth Workers Union have revealed.

Speaking at a youth green paper conference organised by 0-19’s sister magazine Community Care, CYWU general secretary Doug Nicholls said the publication detailing the amount individual authorities spent on youth services amounted to a “list of horrors”.

He criticised councils for raiding their youth service budgets to pay for other services, and called on the government to put the work of the youth service on a statutory footing, bringing it in line with education and social care.

“There must be proper statutory provision for the youth service and for informal education for young people outside the classroom,” he said.

Nicholls also warned of a “wave of privatisation” going on in public services. “Some of the proposals in the schools white paper and the proposals for primary care trust reform are regarded by trade unions as a form of privatisation,” he said, adding that many private organisations did not have the skills or value base of the voluntary and statutory sectors.

Speaking at the same conference, Barnardo’s principal policy officer Pam Hibbert questioned whether the schools white paper was at odds with the youth green paper’s aim of narrowing the gap between young people who achieve and those who do not.

“If schools are going to get more chances to opt out of taking more children who require more care, then these inequality gaps are going to get worse than before,” she said.

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