01 December 2019
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) consulted on Statutory Guidance Review for Local Youth Services, which closed on Sunday 1st December 2019.
We had the following key messages:
- London Youth supports the Department in improving guidance for local authorities in providing youth services.
- A fundamental problem affecting the youth sector in London and elsewhere is a failure by central government to clearly establish the respective responsibilities of central, regional, and local government in England & Wales regarding the strategy, governance, funding, and delivery of youth provision.
- Our members frequently express concern that the duty on local authorities to secure youth services “so far as is reasonably practicable” is not strong enough. London Youth and our members consider that this duty has not been sufficient legal protection to prevent many local authorities from dramatically shrinking their youth offers in response to Government funding cuts since 2011/12. Despite needing to make difficult decisions, many London boroughs have prioritised protecting their youth services or found creative means to preserve them. However, there has been an almost universal reduction in local authority youth provision in London since 2011/12 and some London boroughs have made particularly deep cuts, which has led to a worrying variance in the quality of youth provision available to young people in different parts of London. Due to this, London Youth does not consider that the current guidance or duty provides an effective guarantee of provision to all young people across the capital.
- Alongside improved guidance, we support a strengthened statutory duty on local authorities to ensure appropriate youth provision in every community. We believe that youth provision in the UK should be put on a strong and clear statutory basis, ensuring universal provision, clear responsibility for delivery, appropriate resources and support, and long-term ringfenced funding at pre-2010 levels.
- Central to this should be a clear commitment to high-quality, open access youth work available to every young person in every community.
Read our full response below.
About the consultation
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is revising the guidance that lays out the Government’s expectations for local authorities in ensuring that young people in their areas have access to sufficient youth services.
The statutory guidance currently sits within Section 507B of the Education and Inspections Act and was last reviewed in 2012. It sets out what is expected of local authorities in securing services and activities for young people aged 13 to 19, and those with learning difficulties to age 24, with the purpose of improving young people’s wellbeing. This guidance does apply to any youth sector providers who are not part of local government.
DCMS want the review to focus on the positive role local authorities can play in the provision of youth services and ensuring that the guidance is useful and accessible. The review is not linked to the funding that local authorities receive and will not specify exact nature of services that are decided on in each area.