• EDDC asks for more time over youth centre cuts

    1st April 2014 | News | Claire
  • East Devon District Council is expected to ask the County Youth Service for more time to consider proposals to radically re-shape the service from September to help deliver some of County Hall’s substantial cost savings next year.

    EDDC’s Cabinet will be asked on Wednesday to approve a recommendation that Devon County Council be asked to grant a stay of execution for the changes, which would include the closure of youth centres in East Devon and elsewhere in the county.

    Devon County Council has youth centres in Sidmouth, Exmouth, Honiton, Axminster and Ottery St Mary.

    Impact

    County are currently consulting widely on the proposals in an exercise that ends on 27 April. But at a meeting of a Think Tank held last week by Councillor Jill Elson, EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities, Members agreed that more time was needed to consider the impact of the proposals.

    During the debate it became evident that more detail on the proposed delivery model was required, particularly on the cost of service delivery, redundancy etc. It was also felt that more time was needed to properly assess the implications and respond fully. There also appeared to be a lack of robust equality impact assessment work accompanying the proposals.

    The Think Tank concluded that:

    • A multi-agency structured approach was needed

    • Not enough time to put an alternative service in place by September this year

    • Cost to DCC in unravelling the service plus redundancy costs so DCC to be asked to defer this cost and keep the service intact until the next financial year

    • Local authorities could then plan how gaps left by cuts and changes to the service could be filled effectively

    • Local councils, or community and voluntary sector organisations, could plan to pick up some of the valued provision that would otherwise be lost

    • EDDC could look at the possible transfer of assets from DCC and how these could be used to maximum effect.

    Councillor Jill Elson would like to meet town representatives, relevant voluntary groups and EDDC Community Development Workers to explore what links can be formed.

    Jill Elson said: “There is a legitimate concern about the speed and lack of essential detail contained in the consultation. We appreciate the need for DCC to make budget savings, but we feel that the timescales do not allow for proper consideration of the proposals and alternative options.

    Detail

    “The consultation talks a lot about a move to targeted youth work, but does not describe in any detail what this service delivery model will look like in practice.

    “Devon is now one of the few local authorities in the country still providing a universal service with some targeted projects and outreach. We need a thorough review to make sure we get the most from the available public resources and can build on existing strengths within our communities.

    “The review aims to build on previous engagement work with young people, staff, schools and voluntary sector providers and make detailed recommendations on the future of the service as a part of our offer to young people across the county”.