Youth Services Cash Pledge in Birmingham; Education Matters

The Birmingham Post (England), November 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

Youth Services Cash Pledge in Birmingham; Education Matters


Byline: By Shahid Naqvi Education Correspondent

Education chiefs have pledged to seek millions of pounds of extra cash to address the "embarrassment" of Birmingham's under-funded youth service.

The authority has endorsed findings of a scrutiny report that says youth work in the city is under-funded by nearly pounds 40 for every 13 to 19-year-old.

With more than 100,000 youngsters falling into this category in the city, it means the authority will have to find at least pounds 4 million a year.

The investment would represent the biggest overhaul of youth services in a bid to ensure young people in the city steer clear of negative influences like drugs, gangs and drugs.

Councillor Reg Corns (Con Northfield), chairman of the review group that compiled the report, said the authority would now be held to account if it did not deliver.

"All the council were supportive of this across the Chamber," he said.

"The question now is to see them do their bit. We are going to monitor them month-by-month.

"At the end of the day, the council needs to identify where the money will come from. That is the key."

Scrutiny officials spent ten months reviewing youth provision in the city. The hardhitting report that resulted highlighted a woeful state of under-funding, poor contracts for youth workers, lack of training and bad run-down facilities.

The report noted that the average spending per 13 to 19-year-old for youth services nationally is pounds 100 a year.

In Birmingham, the average figure is pounds 61.13 with spending in some wards as little as pounds 29.

Birmingham also falls way below the recommended number of youth workers of one per 400, according to the report. The proportion in the city is one per 1,000.

In the report preface, Coun Corns wrote: "It is our belief the youth service in Birmingham has been the poor relation of all our services and it has been under-resourced for many years. …

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