Cheshire Council votes to outsource youth services

By Gabriella Jozwiak

| 15 July 2013

Cheshire youth services will be delivered by independent organisations in the future, following a local authority decision to outsource its youth work provision.

The youth work service offers young people advice and guidance. Image: Emile Sandy

Cheshire West and Chester Council members voted the measure through to try and raise more external funding for its young people service, which includes information, advice and guidance services as well as youth work.

Councillors said the decision followed a year-long review of local provision, which found more investment was needed for the council to maintain the level of frontline services it currently provides.

The council’s executive member for education and children Mark Stocks said keeping the work in-house limited funding opportunities because the council was unable to attract grants or other external funding.

Stocks also said the option of creating an arms-length service to deliver youth work was too costly.

“We want the best future for our young citizens and as such firmly believe that the opportunities that will come from delivering our youth service in a different way will mean we can secure improved services for the future while preserving the quality of youth work delivered by our excellent staff,” he said.

Councillor Nicole Meardon, who led the review of local provision, said the council’s future commissioning decisions would be based on what was best for local young people.

“You need to be flexible, it needs to ensure that you go with the right provider that can be sure of meeting targets and the criteria that we want and ultimately meeting the needs of young people.”

Chester’s young people service was formerly a Connexions service, which was brought back under the council’s control in April 2012.

There are 24,273 young people living in the borough and the current service design provides some provision on a local basis while others have a borough-wide brief.

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