Local area agreements: NEETs are top priority

Local area agreements published today show that reducing the number of 16- to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) is the top overall priority for local areas in England.

One hundred and fifteen of the 150 council-led local strategic partnerships selected this as one of their 35 targets, following negotiations with government regional offices.

Other top targets included the number of social care service users receiving self-directed support per 100,000 of population and the number of carers receiving needs assessments or reviews, specific carers services or advice and information, both chosen by 80 areas each.

Exclusion targets less popular

But less popular were the government’s key social exclusion targets on increasing the proportion of care leavers, offenders, adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems in suitable accommodation and employment, education or training.

Of the groups, care leavers were the seen as the lowest priority. Just one area chose the target on care leavers in suitable accommodation, and eight areas chose the target on care leavers in employment, education or training. Offenders were the second lowest priority of the four.

By contrast, 39 areas have chosen both the employment and accommodation target for people with learning disabilities, with the same number of areas selecting both the mental health targets.

On children’s targets, 43 areas chose the effectiveness of child and adolescent mental health services, and 23 chose services for disabled children.

Youth justice

On youth justice, no areas prioritised the reduction of young offenders being sentenced to custody or access to suitable accommodation for young offenders. But 74 areas prioritised reducing the number of 10-17 year-olds entering the youth justice system for the first time, 49 areas chose reducing the rate of proven re-offending, and 20 areas prioritised engaging young offenders in suitable education, employment or training.

  • Local area agreements are three-year contracts between LSPs, which include all major public agencies, and government. LSPs negotiate 35 targets with government regional offices from a national set of 198. Areas are assessed against the LAA, which is backed by a grant, pooling a number of funding streams. All areas will have to report to the Audit Commission on progress against all 198 indicators.

  •  See the priorities in your area.


Have local authorities got it right? What would your priorities be? Join the debate on CareSpace.

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