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Essex County Council proposes to “continue all youth service programmes”.

News / Tue 18th Feb 2014 am28 10:13am

ESSEX County Council has published its proposals on the future of Essex Youth Services which are to continue the “journey the service has been on since 2011, moving away from direct delivery of the youth service to facilitating and supporting the delivery of the service via community involvement”.

Following extensive public consultation, which saw over 5,000 responses to the initial proposals, Essex County Council has said it has “listened to the views of young people and residents, relooked at the proposed budget and how services could be funded and made the decision to continue all youth provision”. This includes support for young carers, The Princes Trust, The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Essex Dance Theatre, access to youth work professionals and youth centres. The council is also committed to investing an additional £1million to enhance facilities for young people.

Essex County Councillor Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Throughout this consultation it has become increasingly clear how important the Essex Youth Service is to our young people therefore I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to respond positively to their wishes and retain all elements of the Essex Youth Service.

“We do need to work within a reduced budget and therefore aspects of the service will need to be delivered differently but based on our experience initiatives such as involving the community has seen local youth provision increase and flourish. I am absolutely delighted that we can show our commitment to Essex young people and demonstrate how much we value this service by keeping all youth services.”

As part of the service redesign there is still, however, the need to reduce the service budget but the authority hopes by changing delivery of certain services and exploring where income could be generated cuts can be mitigated. While this does not mean there will be a reduction in service provision for young people it does mean there will be changes to how some aspects of the service are provided and at a lower cost to the authority.

For example, the local authority wants to give more autonomy to Youth Strategy Groups to deliver targeted work based on community needs; some of the roles within the youth service will change or reduce as services are delivered externally; concentrated work will be undertaken to build capacity in the community and/or the voluntary sector to deliver youth services; and the youth service will look to ensure young people are supported into employment, education and training.

Cllr Gooding continued: “I do hope residents will look at the new set of proposals and see that we have listened. I personally met with many young people and found their input increasingly valuable in shaping the future of the service. We cannot get away from the fact we are working in a tough economic climate but we have tried to ensure we can deliver the best service possible, retain everything important to young people while keeping our eye on the need to reduce costs.”

The full list of proposals detailing the future operating model of Essex Youth Services will be presented to Essex County Council Cabinet for review on Tuesday 25th February.

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