Headlines: January 30th, 2006

Disadvantaged youngsters are being poorly served because local authorities and voluntary organisations are not working together effectively, according to a report from the Prince’s Trust and the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services. The report is based on a survey of heads of children’s and youth services in English councils, who were asked about their relationships with the voluntary sector.It finds that partnership working needs to be improved so all young people, and especially those that are hard to reach, receive a better service. Of those surveyed 955 accepted that they could improve performance by working more closely with voluntary groups.

Recommendations from the Trust include promoting joint commissioning of targeted youth services across local authority boundaries. It also calls for a broader range of local authority staff to be familiarised with local compacts and ensure their processes are compliant.

The Chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, Martina Milburn, said the survey confirmed that local authorities and the voluntary youth sector shared common goals but they had to work more smartly together to improve outcomes for young people. The Development officer at the NCVYS, Stephen Quashie, said, “Children’s Trusts need to think seriously about investing in the networks that support voluntary and community organisations working with children and young people. NCVYS is currently developing resources that will enable Children’s Trusts to effectively engage with the voluntary and community sector.”