The government are finally talking about youth services
The APPG for Youth Affairs was established in 1998 to raise the profile of issues that affect and concern young people, encourage dialogue between parliamentarians, young people and youth services, and encourage a co-ordinated and coherent approach to youth policy making.
The inquiry was undertaken by the APPG, a cross-party group chaired by Lloyd Russell-Moyles MP, with the support of the National Youth Agency, who co-ordinated the running of this one-off inquiry with the ongoing support of the British Youth Council and YMCA England & Wales, whose representatives comprise the permanent secretariat for the APPG for Youth Affairs.
The findings of this report show that in order to secure necessary investment, there is a need for a greater understanding of the role of youth work and the impact of youth services, not just in themselves, but in relation to the wider eco-system of services for children and young people. Youth work as a distinct educational process supplements formal education by providing conditions in which the personal and social development of young people is supported, especially at the level of open-access universal services, with the potential to promote early intervention support through more specialist and targeted services. The cost of late intervention has recently been estimated at £17bn per year in England and Wales. However, it is lower-level preventative services which have been most affected by changes in government spending since 2010: funding of non-statutory, preventative and early intervention services for children, as well as youth services funding, has reduced by 60% since 2010. The APPG report calls for greater investment into youth services as part of the next Comprehensive Spending Review; this should incorporate a review into the current level of, and spend on, youth services at a local authority level, especially noting the cost-benefits of preventative services. It also recommends the reinstatement of funding for the local authority audit that the NYA used to carry out in these areas.