Call for a youth service premium to be introduced

By Neil Puffett, Monday 24 September 2012

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The government should establish a “youth premium” to make sure disadvantaged young people get access to high quality youth work, the National Youth Agency (NYA) has claimed.

Young person in recording studio

Many youth services have faced funding cuts as local authorities weigh up funding priorities. Image: The Media Trust

The proposal, which features in the final report of the NYA's commission into sufficiency in youth services, suggests that a youth premium could work in a similar way to the pupil premium currently available to schools.

The report says that the youth premium should be “a specific funding stream” from government, administered by local authorities, backed up by statutory guidance that would make sure ensure it was spent on activities that are “determined in conjunction with young people”.

The idea of a youth premium is one of five proposals to central government, which the NYA believed would help make sure local youth services are sufficient.

The full report, which is yet to be published, also calls on government to play an “aspirational role” in setting the direction of travel for local youth services, alongside minimal standards for councils to follow, to make sure youth provision is “as effective as it can be”.

The report goes on to recommend that government should play an “enabling role”, by collecting and sharing best practice between councils, and hold local authorities to account, including by intervening when services do not meet an agreed level.

The NYA has also made nine recommendations for local authorities. The proposals say that councils should assume a leadership role in terms of local youth provision, commissioning services effectively, achieving the right mix of open access and targeted services, and publicising their local offer.

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