• Relationship between youth campaigners and Devon County Council fractures again

    25th August 2014 | News | Claire
  • Here is a press release regarding Devon County Council’s outsourcing of youth centres to other agencies:

    Six months ago, a leading Devon County Councillor, Eileen Wragg claimed that for the first time she felt “ashamed” of being a councillor after Devon youth parliament and youth service users were gagged by council chiefs during February’s full council meeting on youth service cuts.

    With Cllr Frank Biederman describing it as a “sad day for democracy”, the damning reaction then went national as we hoped that no such occurrence would take place again. I’m sorry to inform you that this is not the case.

    On 21st August, Devon youth parliament was banned (notified only the night before) from observing a meeting between cabinet councillors, commissioners and senior managers which confirmed the handover over of thousands of pounds to other agencies to take over 24 of our county’s youth centres – many of these groups intending never to reopen the doors for open-access youth work in the future.

    This was despite Cllr James McInnes’ previous pledge to fully involve Devon youth parliament in the outsourcing of youth centres – a promise which he made to the viewers of ITV Westcountry in early August. The decision makers also plan to ban the youth parliament from attending a similar meeting in September

    The reason for excluding youth representatives was that the meeting was “informal” and therefore “off the record”. This meant he had no obligations to allow young people to observe the meeting.