Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 17 June 2013

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

Youth Support Services Strategy

Purpose of the Report

1. To seek Member approval of the Youth Support Services Strategy.


1. Members agree the proposed strategy and action plan.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. The strategy identifies priorities for Youth Support Services across the Vale and necessary actions to ensure outcomes are met.


2. The Local Authority has a duty to provide youth support services and participate in the provision of services with other bodies and persons, or commission the provision of services through other bodies. Youth Support Services encompass all organisations that provide a service to young people aged 11-25. The responsibility for supporting young people rests on a wide range of organisations at local level, all of whom will have a part to play in supporting them at different stages of their development.

3. The Children’s and Young People’s Partnership (CYPP) is the lead partnership body which strategically guides and brings together a broad range of youth support services from all sectors including council services, educational providers, health services and voluntary sector providers.

4. The CYPP acknowledges the important role of all providers of youth support services (YSS), especially the role the voluntary and third sector,  in supporting the statutory organisations. Our intention in developing this strategy is for young people to get the maximum benefit from services working together in the Vale of Glamorgan to respond to our local needs and to maximise the impact of co-ordinated provision.

5. The Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service and the CYPP have worked together to develop a Youth Providers Network (YPN) of those who provide professional youth services to young people, to improve both opportunities and the well being of young people, through collaborative and cooperative relationships and sharing of services and resources.

6. This strategy will:

  • Demonstrate a cohesive multi-agency approach to the development and performance management of youth support services for young people.
  • Improve co-ordination and allocation of resources avoiding duplication of effort.
  • Increase opportunities to access and share data and information.
  • Identify, prioritise and meet the needs of young people in the most efficient and effective way.
  • Measure the impact of work with young people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

7. The strategy and action plan can be viewed at Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

8. Youth Support Services (YSS) in the Vale of Glamorgan are made up of a range of diverse, independent and voluntary organisations, as well as statutory council services. The services are delivering provision to young people across the county in the age range of 11-25. In developing a YSS there have been range of opinions and expectations to manage plus the many and varied agendas of individual organisations. Bringing such a wide range of opinion together under a single strategy would not be possible without a clear understanding, ethos and value base being shared by all. The understanding is based on the entitlement model applied by Welsh Government that young people have a universal entitlement to:

  • Education, training and work experience – tailored to their needs;
  • Basic skills, which open doors to a full life and promote social inclusion;
  • A wide and varied range of opportunities to participate in volunteering and active citizenship;
  • High quality, responsive and accessible services and facilities; independent, specialist careers advice and guidance and student support and counselling services;
  • Personal support and advice – where and when needed and an appropriate format – with clear ground rules on confidentiality;
  • Advice on health, housing benefits and other issues provided in accessible settings; Recreational and social opportunities in a safe and accessible environment;
  • Sporting, artistic, musical and outdoor experiences to develop talents broaden horizons and promote rounded perspectives including both national and international contexts;
  • The right, to be, consulted, to participate in, decision-making and be heard, on all matters which concern them or have an impact on their lives.

    9. YSS were consulted on the development of this strategy, the results of this can be seen at Appendix B. The consultation process considered a single mechanism for the sharing of good practice via annual events. These were considered as an option for bringing youth support service organisations together to develop ideas to fill identified gaps in provision based on local authority information. However many felt that single annual events would not achieve significant change as the infrequent nature of them would not progress development sufficiently quickly enough to meet the need of young people.

    10. Youth Support Service providers felt that more regular structured and planned meetings would serve the needs of young people better, with all organisations working with young people aged 11-25 years in the Vale of Glamorgan contributing and collaborating to policy development. The option of reducing the number of organisations to key groups was also considered. However, if the aims of the strategy as outlined are to be achieved then the membership of the VPN must be as wide and varied a group as possible and young people would also need to be active members. It is on this premise from which the Vale Providers Network was established and the initial drive to develop a Youth Support Services Strategy arose.

    11. Members of the VPN will ensure that the YSS is an active development which supports effective collaborative working, sharing of resources, and a common information sharing accord. The VPN has developed agreed terms of reference and these can be viewed at Appendix C. All recognise the need to ensure young people are provided with quality services and to ensure that young people can engage with services which are effective and achieve the best outcome and impacts for young people. The lead organisation responsible for the co-ordination and administration of the YPN will be the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Service.

    Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

    12. The VPN is supported by the Youth Service from existing budgets.  Partners in the VPN can work collaboratively and develop funding streams and shared services to enable the Youth Support Services Strategy to be implemented. There are no employment issues to be reported.

    Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

    13. None.

    Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

    14. Under section 123 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, National Assembly (Welsh Government) may direct Local Authorities to provide and secure the provision or participate in the provision of Youth Support Services. In 2002 the National Assembly for Wales, as it then was, made a Direction in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 123 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 which directed each Local Authority in Wales in respect of their area to (a) provide Youth Support Services, (b) secure the provision of Youth Support Services or (c) participate in the provision of Youth Support Services, having regard to guidance issued by the National Assembly. The Welsh Assembly, as it was then, issued guidance in July 2002 headed Extending Entitlement; Support for 11-25 year olds in Wales. The Welsh Government has issued a consultation document 079/2009 in relation to guidance in respect of these services which is intended to replace the 2002 guidance. The Learning and Skills Act 2000 section 123(2) states that Youth support services can comprise of a network of services, support and opportunities for 11-25 year olds including education, training and learning support to take advantage of opportunities of employment or to participate effectively and responsibly in the life of their communities for which local authorities are responsible.

    15. The Welsh Government’s ‘Rights of Children and Young Persons Measure 2011’ strengthens and builds on a rights-based approach in the making of all policies for children and young people in Wales. From 1st May 2012 all Welsh Ministers were required to have due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when making decisions about proposed new policies, legislations or about reviewing or changing existing policies.

    Crime and Disorder Implications

    16. The implementation of this strategy will enable services to target provision to assist in the reduction of offending, anti social behaviour, and criminal activity.

    Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

    17. The VPN has representation from the Urdd Gobiath Cymru and vulnerable learner groups.

    Corporate/Service Objectives

    18. Learning and skills Service plan objective 3 & 8, Community Plan CSCYP/A4.1, A2.8.

    Policy Framework and Budget

    19. This report is a matter for Executive decision.

    Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

    20. Not applicable.

    Relevant Scrutiny Committee

    21. Lifelong Learning.

    Background Papers


    Contact Officer

    Andrew Borsden, Principal Youth Officer

    Officers Consulted

    Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

    Mark Davies, Children and Young People's Partnership Manager

    Nisha Shukla, Learning and Skills Officer

    Responsible Officer:

    Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Office