Greens call for transparency as Council announces fresh wave of youth service cuts

The Green group have condemned the Labour Council for continuing to make cuts to the city’s youth service despite a city-wide campaign to save it that saw the budget for the work largely restored in February.

Councillor Alex Phillips, spokesperson for Children, Young People and Skills has called for greater transparency as information about recent cuts to the service appeared as a small note on the internal council information network, ‘the Wave.’ [1] You can read the notice below.

Councillor Phillips has made a statement, commenting:

“At the last full council meeting in July I directly challenged the local Labour group about the current state of youth services and was told that the youth service information bus would be retained for a further year. Now we learn – from a notice quietly ushered out on an internal council network – that the entire dedicated detached youth work team is to be lost.

“The young people who campaigned to save the youth service repeatedly made clear that access to support where they lived made a huge difference. A few in-house services in the city centre mean little to young people unable to shore up the bus fare in and out of town. Detached youth work and services like the youth mobile information bus meant that help and support came to them, where they live, with advice and activities.

“After the Labour Council attempted to axe all council youth work last February, Greens launched a series of successful budget proposals that together with amendments from the Conservatives saw the youth service funding almost entirely reinstated. The disgraceful reality is that despite this, key elements of youth work are still being axed behind the scenes. Getting rid of detached youth work flies in the face of everything we and these young people campaigned to protect.”

1] The information published on Brighton and Hove City Council intranet, ‘The Wave’:

Youth service changes

From 1 August our Youth Service is changing. 

We will no longer have an in-house detached team working from the youth bus. You will still see the bus from time to time but there will no longer be a dedicated team.

Over the years the city has been lucky enough to have a bus which has had a positive impact on thousands of young people since 2003. The team want to thank everyone for their support in helping with the delivery of the bus.

The council will still fund a Participation & Advocacy team and Youth Arts and Duke of Edinburgh programmes will continue to be delivered but now externally funded.

 

2] Question from Councillor Alex Phillips, to the Chair of Children, Young People and Skills Committee Councillor Daniel Chapman at the meeting of full council, 20th July, Hove Town Hall
Question from Councillor Phillips – Youth Services

“Could the Chair of the Children, Young People and Skills please clarify how the plans to move Brighton & Hove City Council youth service staff into the Integrated Team for Parents and Families is in the spirit of the amendments made at budget council which aims to protect not only our youth service i.e children and families work but also the provision of detached youth workers?”

Response from Councillor Chapman, Chair of Children, Young People and Skills Committee

“As you know we are going through a restructure of the in-house services to provide services in the greatest area of need and to continue to work in partnership with voluntary sector and I’m happy to discuss with Councillor Phillips as well on another occasion in more depth about what’s going on with the youth service.”

Supplementary Question

“I’ll take that to mean they’ll be no more Brighton & Hove City Council youth service that technically the council will stop prioritising open access in house youth service and I think it is awful that that may well stop.

“The youth service bus came up as a much-loved resource through the consultation. Can the Chair of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee please confirm that this bus, which amongst other things provides sexual health and education outreach to young people, will remain as is?”

Response

“The bus will be retained for a further year and resources will be available for the wider youth teams and the voluntary sector.”

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