Agenda item - Use of Housing Revenue Account Funding in Youth Services

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Agenda item

Use of Housing Revenue Account Funding in Youth Services

Report of the Executive Director for Families, Children & Learning (copy attached)

 

Decision:

39.1    RESOLVED: That the Committee –

 

1.    Noted the report

2.    Agreed that a report be considered by the Committee in June 2018

Minutes:

39.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning which provided members with an update on changes to the youth service, including the use of the Housing Revenue Account’s (HRA) annual £250,000 contribution to the budget. The report was introduced by the Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support with contributions from Kyra Kibble (Youth Council).

 

39.2    Kyra Kibble said that Youth Council representatives and others from different youth services, met over half term.  It was agreed that they would meet every six weeks, at different venues, to discuss various issue such as mental health.

 

39.3    Councillor Brown asked if any further steps had been taken to revive the Ask, Report, Change (ARC) programme, and was advised that there hadn’t but an update would be provided in due course.

 

39.4    Councillor Brown referred to the Participation Team which delivered the Youth Advocacy Project and asked if the right number of people were involved. The Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support advised that an update would be provided in the next report on youth services to be presented to the Committee’s meeting. Councillor Brown referred to paragraph 3.6 in the report, and asked what would happen when the funding ended in September 2018. The Head of Service - Early Years & Family Support said that more information about funding would be known in the spring next year, and decisions could be taken then.

 

39.5    Councillor Brown suggested that it would be useful to have a report in six months on the Youth Grant Programme, which was agreed by the Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support.

 

39.6    Councillor Brown referred to Appendix 4 to the report and noted that under ‘Other Costs’, there was a figure of £15k for ‘Independent Visitors for children in care’, but there was also a figure of £46k for ‘Independent Visitors’, and asked what that referred to. The Head of Service - Early Years & Family Support the £15k was a contribution from the youth budget, and the £46k was the budget they already had.

 

39.7    Councillor Phillips thanked officers for the report, but suggested it would have been helpful to have information about what had been provided before and what had been lost with regard to the £250k from the HRA budget. Councillor Phillips was concerned that whilst the Youth Voice project was great it did not adequately replace the one to one youth work. There seemed to be an emphasis on anti-social behaviour and employability, which was good but she did not think they were in the spirit of the amendments to the funding which was agreed at Budget Council earlier this year. Councillor Phillips suggested that it would be useful to have regular updates on the youth service provision, and asked how many council employees were involved in this area. The Head of Service - Early Years & Family Support said that the overall savings to the Council were £255k. There was no longer a detached youth work team within the Council, but the voluntary sector now provided that. The Chair said that the cross party group could review the youth service provision on a regular basis.

 

39.8    Councillor O’Quinn noted that one of the expected outcomes for the Youth Grant programme was a reduction in anti-social behaviour, and asked if the Council were liaising with the police. The Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support said that they did and the police had set up an early intervention team. The Executive Director of Families, Children and Learning said that children were now living more complicated lives and there were a range of services for young people outside of the youth service. Around six months ago the Council reorganised the range of provision to make more integrated arrangements. There had been a reduction of the number of children involved in youth crime, which had allowed some funding to be used for preventative work.

 

39.9    Ms J Sumner thanked Councillors and Officers for the continued investment in this vital service and commended the fact that funding arrangements had been changed to a grant rather than a contract service. She asked that where possible, and where procurement allowed, officers sought to establish grant arrangements to ensure that as much resource went into communities as possible. Ms Sumner referred to the Council Youth Participation Team Budget, and asked what the £10,000 for small grants referred to. The Head of Service - Early Years & Family Support said that the aim is the Youth Voice forum and the cross party group would have a say in how that money was spent.

 

39.10  Councillor Penn asked that Moulsecoomb and Patcham were taken into account, as areas such as the Bates Estate had significant levels of depravation, and there was a lack of facilities or projects in those places. Councillor Penn said that it was important that the funding was spent wisely, and asked how the outcomes would be measured. The Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support said that regular meetings would be held with voluntary sector providers, and to measure outcomes they would use Aspire (Council run IT system) to monitor the number of young people they were in contact with, together with feedback from residents groups. 

 

39.11  Councillor Wealls referred to the Youth Participation Team budget and felt that there was a lot of consultation and talking rather than actual provision. He noted that there was a lot of advocacy within the Council, and asked whether it would be more appropriate for a non-council entity to do a great deal of that work. The Head of Service - Early Years, Youth & Family Support said that the amount of funding being spent on the participation was not just looking at how the youth service budget would be spent but was also looking at how the Council were working with young people. With regard to the advocacy the Youth Participation Team were managed by outside social work to ensure some independence. The Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning said that participation also included young people having an input on recruitment of officers and social workers, so they would be involved in decisions the Council made. More information on that would be provided in an interim report. He added that advocacy was a statutory requirement for children in care. Mr J Cliff said that youth involvement was being addressed; young people usually didn’t get much say and so it was good that they had the opportunity to have their voice heard.

 

39.12  Councillor Janio said that it was important to keep young people informed, and it was good to talk with them. He felt that sometimes the Council were clinging on to some of the internal services, which the community and voluntary sector within the city could provide.

 

39.13  Mr M Jones asked if the Committee could have a report from young people rather than from officers. The Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning referred to Appendix 1 to the report which was direct feedback from young people.  

 

39.14 The Chair proposed the following amendment to Recommendation 2.2 ‘That a progress report is considered by the Committee in June 2018’. The amendment was seconded by Councillor Brown. The Committee agreed to the amendment.

 

39.15  RESOLVED:

 

(1)       That the report be noted; and

 

(2)       That a progress report be considered by the Committee in June 2018.

Supporting documents:

 


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