Agenda item

Multiplying Impact - Flintshire Integrated Youth Provision Delivery Plan 2021-2024


(a)       That the Committee positively acknowledge the vital work of the Integrated Youth Provision during the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting Flintshire’s children and young people;


(b)       That the Committee endorse the ‘Multiplying Impact – Flintshire Integrated Youth Provision Delivery Plan 2021-2024’; and


(c)        That the Chairman write to Mrs. Ann Roberts, Senior Manager - Integrated Youth Provision, on behalf of the Committee, wishing her well in her retirement and thanking her for her passion and commitment to the Youth Service over the years.


Prior to consideration of the report, the Chief Officer (Education & Youth) reported that Mrs. Ann Roberts, Senior Officer of the Integrated Youth Provision, would be retiring from her role at the beginning of March.  She commented on the tremendous contribution Ann Roberts had made to the Committee and her passion and commitment for delivering high quality services to young people.  There would be an opportunity for Members of the Committee to send comments which would be collated and presented to Ann Roberts during her leaving presentation.  The Chair suggested that the Committee send a letter of appreciation to Ann Roberts for what she had achieved for the education service over the years and to wish her well for the future.  This suggestion was supported by the Committee. 


            The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) introduced Mick Holt (Senior Youth & Community Worker) and Ali Thomas (Youth Forum Worker), the two Senior Youth Workers, to the Committee and thanked them for their assistance.  She outlined the current position, explaining the Plan was developed, following a wide-ranging consultation with young people in Flintshire who used this service, the Youth Team and a range of partners’ delivering these services to young people in the 11-to-25-year age group.  The aspirations for the young people were explained together with the support provided by the Youth Service.  The digital provision was beneficial but as restrictions were being lifted more face-to-face services were able to be delivered.  The Children’s Commissioner and Welsh Government (WG) had recognised the value of Youth Services and that this was now at the forefront of the new inspection regime of Local Government and Education Services.  The Youth Service and Youth Workers were a highly skilled and valued part of the Education Services. 


The Chief Officer referred to the key purposes at section 1.06 of the report which tied in with the national curriculum and provided information on the key partnership working.  Young people valued the services they received through the Integrated Youth Provision and that this plan would provide a route map for the next three years on how services were embedded and expanded to support them.  She referred to the Welsh in Education Strategy which was discussed at the last meeting and said that the focus was to provide services through the medium of Welsh to improve their opportunities moving forward. 


            In response to questions from Councillor Dave Mackie on the Toolkit, the Chief Officer (Education & Youth) said the Integrated Impact Assessment was completed as part of the statutory process for reporting to Committee.  This was a standard template which had to be used and agreed there were elements which were repetitive.  The Youth Forum Worker confirmed that the multiplying impact reporter was used with elements included in the report and confirmed that some of the services were face to face with others going online.  Although it appeared that this was repeated wording, a blended approach and different service delivery was being looked at.


            Councillor Dave Mackie referred to section 1.07 of the report which referred to the number of young people in this category aged between 11 – 25 years which totalled nearly 24,000.  He asked how these individuals, who could be spread across the County, could be contacted to understand what their needs were.   In response the Chief Office (Education & Youth) referred to the Summer of Fun Programme which focused on delivering opportunities for the “older” young people.  Schools and youth workers would signpost this, but it was how the range of activities and services on offer were promoted (through social media etc.), enabled this group to engage.


            The Senior Youth & Community Worker confirmed that for the past 6 years he had line managed the NEETS Officers.  Every September the team spent six weeks working through lists of young people over the age of 18 carrying out a door knocking exercise to establish where these individuals were and speaking with them to outline what services were being provided.  The vast majority said that they were in college, some had jobs, with some who were not at home or had moved.  It was felt that this was the best way to reach out to these young people.  This was also advertised through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and through the Colleges.  He also referred to the joint working with the family workers in the Social Services team and reported on projects held during the summer with families with children under the age of 5. 


            Councillor Dave Mackie suggested that this information should be included within the report and congratulated the team on the work being carried out.  The Senior Youth & Community Worker explained that this information was not included in the report, and it was work carried out by the NEETS team but could be included as an example of what had been carried out. 


            The Youth Forum Worker explained as well as the term time provision such as youth clubs etc. and the work carried out by NEETS, the older groups were targeted in areas such as Wepre Park for example.  She highlighted the Summer and half term programmes and outlined how the detached teams reached out to the young people who were not engaging in the more formal services.  The Youth Forum Worker then referred to the Youth Council with efforts made to ensure it was as diverse as possible with young people representatives from colleges, in work and other settings and the homeless projects.  There were a lot of projects targeting young people to ensure their representation was high with many young people engaging well.


            The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) explained that this was a draft report and included feedback on the consultation and the strategic direction of travel moving forward.  Amendments could be made prior to the report going to Cabinet


Mrs Lynne Bartlett referred to the list of youth clubs which were re-opening but noticed that one or two were missing.  She asked if assessments of those communities, especially the one community which had high levels of anti-social behaviour, were carried out and then highlighted and prioritised.  Regarding the pop-up service, she asked if this targeted those areas where there were high levels of anti-social behaviour and whether there were opportunities to engage with the voluntary sector to ensure those communities were able to open youth clubs.  Mrs Bartlett was pleased to see the growth of Forest Schools.


            In response, the Chief Officer (Education & Youth) advised that there had been significant reductions in resources over several years and the Youth Services had to be smarter in the way it managed this.  In some communities it had been possible to sustain that permanent provision but unfortunately in other communities it had not been possible for various reasons. Following discussions with young people other services such as digital and online services had been provided with pop ups and outreach part of that multifaceted package which was continually being extended within a finite budget.   The Youth Services and Youth Justice teams were continually engaging with young people where there were aspects of anti-social behaviour.


            The Senior Youth & Community Worker reported that some buildings used for youth clubs had been transferred under the Community Asset Transfer programme but that the youth clubs were retained wherever possible.  He outlined the training timeframe for youth workers in charge and assistant youth workers and the qualifications that were required with recruitment of part time members of staff the biggest problem for the service.  There was a small budget to employ some part time youth workers and recruitment drives had taken place with limited success.  Referring to Forest Schools he confirmed that this was one of the major growth areas originally commencing with one day a week but progressing to four full days a week and he provided information on their locations.  This had expanded quickly because it was outdoors and Covid safe.


            The Youth Forum Worker reported that voluntary sector partnerships were invaluable especially with the hard-to-reach age groups.  They were in the community with the specialist expertise and already had existing relationships with young people and their families.  She provided information on the Youth Support Grants, the URDD and the collaborations around staffing.  She referred to NEWCIS and the Young Carers and the “What just happened” project which highlighted the impacts on young people during Covid. This was invaluable and only came about because of the partnership working with the voluntary sector.


            The Chair asked if there had been a change of direction following the consultation with young people as the last time Integrated Youth Provision came to committee on the 5 November 2020.  The report itemised proposals for the way forward with a projected saving of £98.6k per annum on staff and premises and asked if the council was still making a significant saving on youth club provision.


            The Senior Youth & Community Worker referred to the £98.6 k projection which had been skewed by Covid and said that £96k of that figure was in relation to buildings not staff members.   In 2015 several buildings were transferred via community asset transfer but there were still a few which remained, and he provided an update on recent transfers.  Youth clubs would still be held in these sites with regular Covid risks assessments carried out.


The recommendations, as outlined within the report, were moved Councillor Janet Axworthy, and seconded by Councillor Martin White.





(a)       That the Committee positively acknowledge the vital work of the Integrated Youth Provision during the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting Flintshire’s children and young people;


(b)       That the Committee endorse the ‘Multiplying Impact – Flintshire Integrated Youth Provision Delivery Plan 2021-2024’; and


(c)        That the Chairman write to Mrs. Ann Roberts, Senior Manager - Integrated Youth Provision, on behalf of the Committee, wishing her well in her retirement and thanking her for her passion and commitment to the Youth Service over the years.

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