I note that Walsall Council have a scrutiny meeting this evening on the vexed matter of the Integrated Young People’s Support Service – that’s pretty much anything the council provides for kids and young people, including youth justice, targeted support, youth centres, the Education Business Partnership and parent partnership services.
This is important for a couple of reasons: firstly, the election has come and gone and the gloves are off; Mike ‘Blofeld’ Bird is abandoning promises left right and centre as the chickens are coming home to roost, so expect any previously guarded approach to cuts to services to go.
Secondly, this is a precursor to a firesale which will undoubtedly result in huge cuts, and the loss and paring back of formerly excellent services, in favour of stuff that makes money. Don’t be fooled by the self-congratulatory tone of the press release, this is a carve-up.
You, as a member of the public, can attend this meeting and make your presence felt. It’s at the Civic Centre at 6pm tonight (29th July 2014). Brownhills Councillor Barbara Cassidy is head of the scrutiny panel, and she won’t let this go without a fight.
Youth services to be discussed by scrutiny panel
Changes to youth services and an update on the progress to date in terms of improvements to children’s services will feature on the first children’s scrutiny panel agenda of the municipal year.
Regular updates on the latest improvements to children’s services following the 2012 Ofsted inspection are routinely presented to the panel for review.
An overview on progress to date will be given to members relating directly to the range of detailed actions outlined in the improvement plan – including an assessment of both strengths and areas where the council are still striving to improve.
The panel will also debate proposals on how the council’s Integrated Young People’s Support Service (IYPSS) should be run in the future ahead of the report going to cabinet.
Councillor Barbara Cassidy, chair of the panel, said: ‘It is crucial that we take stock of where we are in our improvement journey.
‘It is vital for children across the borough that Walsall Council continues to make good and steady progress, being careful not to lose momentum and building on the positive work that has been achieved so far.
‘Youth services play an important role in this journey and we must carefully consider all of the available options before a decision is made.’
Members of the public are always welcome to attend the meeting and there is lift access for visitors.
The meeting takes place on Tuesday 29 July at 6pm at Walsall Council House, Lichfield Street, Walsall.
Please attend if you can. Youth provision is very important indeed, but a very, very easy cut to make. Both The Plastic Hippo and Linda Mason have written eloquently and sensibly about this.
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