Headlines: September 20th, 2002

The Department for Education and Skills has asked local councils to radically re-think their youth service strategies, if they have not already done so. Traditionally young people in the 13 – 19 age group have suffered from the silo structure of public services. For example a 16 year old unemployed school leaver with no educational qualifications, a drug problem and a police record often received unco-ordinated support from a number of agencies. The DfEE wants councils to draw up a strategic framework to bring all agencies together, ready for implementation in the period 2003/4 to 2006. The aim is to offer quality support to young people to help them to achieve and progress.A key requirement of the framework is that there must be a close fit with the local Connexions Service Business Plan. The Service provides young people with the guidance and support they need to stay in learning so that more of them leave school or college with qualifications.

Integrating services to focus on the individual young person presents one of the most severe challenges of joined up government. A partnership framework of the type envisaged by the DfEE might involve: schools (including pupil referral units); local council departments such as housing, social services or economic development; further education or specialist colleges. The Learning and Skills Council; higher education institutions; health authority or primary care trusts; drugs action teams; community safety partnerships; police; youth offending teams, Probation Service; Community Legal Service; private sector companies; international partnerships; the voluntary and community sector; faith groups and young people’s groups.