To receive a presentation on the Hampshire County Council Youth Consultation from Mr. Ian Langley, Strategic Lead for the Supporting (Troubled) Families Programme.
The Panel welcomed Mr. Ian Langley, Youth Support Services Board Member of Hampshire County Council (HCC), who attended the meeting to report on the impending Youth Support Services consultation. Mr. Langley advised that a service consultation had been held in 2014 on the Youth Support Services, but this had not been completed. Subsequently, the Executive Lead Member had agreed that financial support for 2015/16 would remain unchanged with the majority of commissioned Youth Support Service providers receiving a twelve month extension to their grants. The new consultation would start in November 2015 and the period prior to the start date would be used to consult with district and borough councils and district groups to inform them of the requirements of the consultation.
It was noted that further savings needed to be achieved in 2016/17 and the shape and delivery of Youth Support Services would need to undergo further transformation. However, it was important to ensure that vulnerable young people still received the service they required and HCC welcomed the views of what was considered important in each local area across the County. By consulting with district and borough councils, prior to the consultation, it was hoped that there would be no surprises when the consultation documents were released. In preparation, HCC needed to consider challenging the traditional ways of working, working together with partners to offer the best possible service and to keep young people at the centre of its thinking.
The Panel was advised that engagement events had taken place with key stakeholders and providers in April 2015; following this, local engagement events had taken place in Hart/Rushmoor, East Hampshire, Havant, Fareham, Eastleigh, New Forest and Test Valley. In addition, discussions had been held with groups associated with the early help offer; these included children, young people and their families. Emerging themes from these discussions had been identified, including the need for frequent communication with the voluntary sector to give them sufficient notice to retain staff to deliver current services and to plan for any changes. It was also felt important to ensure focus on locality and the needs of the local providers; every area had different needs and requirements.
Mr. Langley reported that the next steps would be to continue the dialogue, and jointly consider the needs of each locality, identify any gaps and how they could be overcome. It was also important for each local authority to ask “what can we bring to the table?” Consideration would also need to be given to future delivery and commissioning models, examples of which could be:
· a grants based model,
· a third sector partner, or
· to run something through the local Children’s Partnership, which in Rushmoor was a very active and productive group.
Members were asked to consider a number of things, for example; any groups that would benefit from advanced consultation on the review before the formal consultation began and any key issues, gaps and best practice in the locality. The Panel noted that the consultation would start in early November, 2015 with the outcomes to be reported on in March, 2016.
In response to a question, it was reported that the services to be reviewed covered children and young people aged 0-19. Most young people were referred to the services or attended through outreach projects and the emphasis had been on targeting the right young people with the reducing funds available. It was noted that the overall budget for Hampshire had been in the region of £1 million although the new proposed figure had yet to be determined.
A discussion was held on the pressures on the voluntary sector to provide services with less funding. Mr. Langley advised that a lot of work had been carried out in advance with organisations to pre-warn them of the proposed reductions and to allow them to start preparing for the future at this early stage. Partnership working and best practice had also been encouraged.
The Head of Community and Environmental Services agreed to circulate the presentation recently considered by the Rushmoor Local Children’s Partnership, which would help inform the Council’s response to the consultation.
The Panel noted that, locally, Rushmoor Voluntary Services had been part of a similar consultation process around Community Voluntary Services and was now working closely with similar organisations in both Hart and Basingstoke to provide improved value and achieve the savings required by HCC.
It was noted that Mr. Langley would keep the Panel informed on the progress of the consultation if required and further discussion on the way forward would be held at the next mid cycle meeting.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Langley for his presentation.