County council to wield the axe and slash �1 million and dozens of jobs from youth service and Connexions

YOUNG people across Cambridgeshire will no longer have an automatic entitlement to youth services as the county council prepares to axes dozens of jobs and �1 million from its budget.

“It was stressed that this was not a decision that Cabinet had wished to make but was one which had been forced on it,” says a report to next week’s county council.

The council says ending of universal provision across the county would lead to a service which no longer worked with all young people.

Instead it would focus on “the more vulnerable and those least likely to make a good transition to adulthood”.

Originally the council proposed a two phase implementation of youth service cuts but felt to stagger it would cause more disruption for staff and increase uncertainty.

Full time equivalent posts will drop from 110 to 72 and some of those who will lose their jobs are expected to be told the week before Christmas. Within youth work and Connexions there is approximately 247 staff covering 351 posts, ranging from full time staff to those covering one or two sessions of youth work a week. The �1 million saving represents a third of their combined budget.

Councillor Martin Curtis, the Cabinet member for young people, said the decision to rationalise services had been taken in February and involved “a long running processing involving a very substantial consultation process”.

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Existing Connexions and youth work are to be amalgamated into a joint service but Cllr Curtis explained that transformation monies would be available for a two year period to help support community initiatives. Parish councils, voluntary groups, parents and residents who might wish to set up and run the service were being approached.

The report to councillors, however, says the cut will happen irrespective of alternatives locally since “the timetable unfortunately did not allow the time to wait and see what provision might be offered”.