Council to cut youth service budget by more than a third

By Adam Offord

| 02 February 2016

A London council is to cut £358,000 from its youth service budget after plans to redesign the service were given the go-ahead by councillors. 

Bexley Council's cabinet has rubberstamped proposals to cut the youth services budget by a third. Picture: Bexley Council

Bexley Council’s cabinet has agreed to stop funding the Danson Youth Service and the Greater London South East Scout Council – which receive a combined £138,000 in funding.

Proposals to cut the number of youth work posts to create savings of £220,000 were also given the green light. 

The cuts represent a 35.3 per cent reduction to the youth service budget, which stood at £1.014m in 2015/16. The council said it needs to make overall savings of at least £56m by 2019/20 – on top of £63m that has already been saved since 2011/12.

A spokeswoman for Bexley Council said the staff reductions are the equivalent of seven full-time positions. 

“Those affected will be fully supported throughout the process,” she said. 

“The cabinet took the decision to discontinue the grant for the Greater London South East Scout Council, bringing the council into line with neighbouring local authorities. The grant for Danson Youth Service will also end.”

She added that as the service is run as a trust it will continue to operate as normal and have the opportunity to bid to supply other youth provision in the borough.

The council said redesigning the service would create a targeted youth service that addresses issues like anti-social behaviour and crime as well as supporting the young people that need it most. It added that it wants to improve services by working with young people in the borough.

Philip Read, lead member for children's services at the local authority, said: "We don't have a limitless budget for any service so we look at what we have and see if we can use it more effectively.

"That is why we commissioned an independent report into our youth services and that brought into sharp focus a number of issues including the fact that the early help service could and should be stronger, more targeted and achieve better outcomes. 

"We now have a blank canvas on which to develop the future services we deliver to help those young people most in need of support and I am delighted that our young people will be able to help us shape that.”

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