Short-term cuts may hurt future

Advice Derbyshire are urging Derbyshire residents to respond to the County Council’s consultation on the future of the youth service.

Derbyshire County Council is currently consulting on plans to close all the county’s youth clubs and mobile units, putting at risk 157 part-time youth worker jobs.

Instead the authority is proposing to work more closely with voluntary and community organisations to provide funding for them to deliver services for 13 to 19 year olds, rather than directly providing them.

The council want to ensure that youth services are provided when people need them and that they offer taxpayers value for money.

But an advice charity claims it is unclear how the authority would engage with the voluntary and community sector and what proportion of the current youth service budget, of £2.2m, would be available for commissioning services.

Advice Derbyshire operates as a single voice for advice providers across the County including Citizens Advice Bureau and Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centres.

Kris Ambler, Advice Derbyshire Partnership Manager, said: “The need to reduce the deficit and bring spending down is a familiar mantra, but the short term savings that underpin many spending cuts risk disproportionately affecting the people who we are looking to drive forward our economic future.

“Ultimately this may cost local authorities and the taxpayer more over the longer term.”

Colin Hampton, Coordinator of the DUWC, said: “Advice Services report that they are under-used by young people who often only can access the help they need with the assistance of the youth services.

“If the County Council’s proposals go ahead then young people will be even harder to reach and this at a time of increasing youth unemployment and anxiety about the future.”

The consultation is open until March 18. To take part visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/youthservice 2012