Reason for the decision
The existing contracts for the commissioned Youth Services are due to expire at the end of March 2024. KCC must make a decision as to the future provision and spend.
The cost of the current Youth Service contracts is £1,2M, the savings made by not continuing to commission these services would be £913K from the base budget. The remainder c£321k of the funding is currently utilising the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and this would enable a further reduction to the current DSG overspend.
In accordance with Securing Kent’s Future, it is necessary for all services to review future spend, in particular where contracts are reaching end points. In addition, the development of the Family Hub model at the same time offers the opportunity to update KCC’s approach to Youth Service provision without the commissioned activity previously put in place through these contracts.
KCC is committed to providing youth provision that meets the needs of vulnerable young people and their families in Kent. We remain committed to offering youth groups to individuals that face barriers to participation in privately funded activities elsewhere.
The recommended approach would involve KCC providing a directory of youth services that are available, both delivered by KCC and available elsewhere across the County . This would be managed centrally, and we would commit to carrying out an annual mapping activity in each district to ensure the information on local services is up to date. This would form part of the local partnership work within Family Hubs.
No commissioned Youth Services contracts delivering discretionary services will be renewed when they end in March 2024, enabling a saving to the Council’s base budget of £913k and reduction of the DSG overspend of £321K. As described, the Council’s current youth provision will continue to be delivered within a Family Hub model and will provide youth provision for children and support for their families where it is most needed. Young people with SEND will continue to receive a universal support service through existing KCC channels and be supported in accessing wider groups and support through the Family Hub network.
Cessation of commissioned Youth Services delivering discretionary services would bring Kent in line with the national picture. This is the recommended option as it addresses the current requirements of the Council’s financial recovery strategy.
The alternative option (and is not the preferred approach) is for KCC to renew the contracts for the current commissioned Youth Services delivering discretionary services and not realise a saving of £913k and reduction of the DSG overspend of £321K. This decision would not impact on the Council’s proposed direction of travel to reconfigure existing standalone Open Access inhouse services into a whole family approach model for infants, children, young people and their families aged 0 to 19 (25 with SEND). If the savings cannot be realised by ending the commissioned Youth Services contracts delivering discretionary services, it will not be possible to meet the commitment set out in our MTFP from this set of activities and savings will be required to be made elsewhere in the CYPE Directorate.
As an additional factor if the Council were to continue with these commissioned Youth Services, as the current contracts are due to come to an end, this will require the delivery of a new procurement process with its associated costs and delay for any deployment of new services. It is estimated that this process would result in an approximately six-month gap in youth provision. This estimate is based on the need to procure new commissioned Youth Services delivering discretionary services in line with the Family Hub model.
Due to significant budgetary challenges KCC needs to review all of its commissioned contracts that are coming to a natural end as these contracts are.
It is not recommended that KCC renew the current commissioned Youth Service delivering discretionary services contracts from April 2024 as this approach would not deliver the required savings.
How the proposed decision supports the Strategic Statement:
The cessation of commissioned services at contract end point would align with the budget recovery activity required under Securing Kent’s Future. The current contracts are ceasing. Any model of delivery must proactively evidence the best value for money in decision making.
KCC ran a public consultation which included proposals for the cessation of youth contracts between 19 July and 13 September 2023. Officers have analysed consultation responses and taken these fully into account in developing proposals. A final decision will subject to consideration of consultation feedback by the decision-maker.
Data Protection implications
The Data Protection Impact Assessment will be reviewed as the Family Hub model develops
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/11/2023
Decision due: Not before 30th Nov 2023 by Cabinet
Reason: To allow 28 day notice period as per Executive Decision regulations
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Lead director: Carolann James
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Danielle Day, Programme Manager Email: Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org.
A public consultation on the Kent Family Hub services, including the proposal to cease the Commissioned Youth Services, launched on 19 July and closed on 13 September.
As part of our ongoing transformation and subject to the specific decisions being progressed through full governance, a staff consultation to rebase our existing Open Access staff group to the Family Hub model would likely take place in January 2024.
Cabinet Committee consultation planned:
The decision will be considered by CYPE Cabinet Committee on 21 November 2023.
Financial implications: The cost of the current youth contracts is £1,2M, the savings made by not continuing to commission these services would be £913K from the base budget. The remainder c£321k of the funding is currently utilising the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and would enable a further reduction to the DSG overspend. Achieving these savings would contribute to meeting the spend reduction required in KCC Budget and the MTFP, as approved by Full Council.
Legal implications: The statutory guidance for local authorities on services to improve young people’s well-being states as outlined below: - Section 507B requires local authorities to, so far as reasonably practicable, secure access for all qualifying young people to a sufficient quantity of ‘youth services’. - A sufficient quantity of educational leisure-time activities which are for the improvement of their well-being and sufficient facilities for such activities. - A sufficient quantity of recreational leisure-time activities which are for the improvement of their well-being, and sufficient facilities for such activities. KCC considers that existing in-house provision, including proposed developments within the planned Family Hubs model will allow KCC to meet relevant statutory requirements without the commissioned Youth Services.
Equalities implications: KCC has undertaken equality impact assessments as appropriate and these will be provided to the decision-maker for her consideration prior to taking a final decision.