LGA demands secure funding for NEET services

5 Jun 15

Services for young people not in employment, education or training will be at risk by the end of the decade unless the government works with local authorities to reach a new funding deal, ministers have been told.

The Local Government Association today revealed that a poll of 87 councils found that nearly all (97%) warned their capacity to fulfil their statutory duties to 16- to 18-year-olds would be put at risk by 2020 if budget reductions continued without reform to provision.

The survey found that nine out of ten (91%) local authorities have already been forced to reduce spending on support for the group as they deal with cuts from central government, while just 7% said they have powers and funding to meet their legal duties. These include an obligation to identify and reduce teenage disengagement and secure suitable education and training places for all 16- to 18-year-olds.

David Simmonds, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said councils were determined that every young person was able to realise their full potential.

In order for Chancellor George Osborne to meet his target for the UK to reach full employment, the government needed to allow local partnerships between councils, schools, colleges, jobcentres and employers to work together, he said.

A local “youth offer”, based on devolution of the post-16 education budget from the Education Funding Agency, could ensure every young person is either in work or learning. There are currently around 738,000 young people in England not currently in employment, education or training.

In the poll, four-fifths of town halls agreed that greater devolution would enable them to further reduce youth disengagement, while 86% said they could deliver better value for money with the resources going into their area.

“The message from local government is clear,” Simmonds stated.

“Cuts without reform risk undoing all of our collective good work, putting thousands of promising futures at risk. Councils are uniquely well placed to help young people access the opportunities created by the local employers increasingly frustrated by remote national institutions. It is important that we have the powers, levers and funding to fulfil our legal duties to young people.”

He added that, over decades, the make up of services supporting young people’s journey from school to the world of work had grown more complex and disjointed.

“With the greatest will, this cannot be resolved by national government alone.

“Councils and local partners know that, with the support of government, they can join-up advice, skills and experience around the needs of each young person and local employers to help more reach their potential and ensure no vulnerable youngsters get left behind.”

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