Headlines: July 15th, 1999

The Social Exclusion Unit found little evidence of joined-up government services when it looked at the plight of 16-18 years not in education, employment or training. The study found that the 160,000 young people in the age group, or 1 in 11 of the total, had common backgrounds such as poverty, unemployment in the family, truancy or school exclusion. It also found clear links between the group and other problems such as homelessness, offending and serious drug misuse.

In response to the report a Government wide action plan has been drawn up with the aim of putting young people firmly on the right track. A key feature of the plan is the creation of the Youth Support Service which will provide individually tailored guidance and support, in places and ways which meet the needs of young people between the ages of 13 and 19. The Youth Support Service will be a new organisation operating in a radically different way. It will look at the broad range of needs which a young person may have, focusing on those who require most help with the clear goal of supporting participation in learning. It will link closely with other agencies and foster a joined-up approach.