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Agenda item

Youth Services - Sheffield City Council Update

To receive a presentation from Laura Hayfield, Head of the Youth Transition Programme, Sheffield City Council



The Committee received a presentation from Laura Hayfield (Head of Service, Youth Services), on an update on the transition of the Youth Services to Sheffield City Council.




Ms Hayfield reported on the work undertaken to date, the aims of the Service, the phase two steps undertaken, work in terms of stabilisation and recovery, current service delivery, youth work, young people’s involvement, and the work of the community youth teams and key workers.  She also referred to the proposed timeline in terms of the various stages of transition of the Service back in-house.




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·            Those cases involving young people deemed to be at the lower end of need with regard to sexual and criminal exploitation were referred to the Community Youth Teams, based in the Youth Service.  All staff within the Teams were trained to work with vulnerable young people, and would work through a variety of services and programmes with them, either through direct delivery or through colleagues and/or partners.  The Service had focused on this work during the transition.




·            The aim was to co-produce the Vision and the Strategy, with local communities, and the Service was looking to have a wide engagement with partners, including community organisations and young people.  Youth Services had recently moved to the Council's Communities Portfolio, with the idea that the Service could work closely with the Local Area Partnerships and community organisations.  In addition, a stakeholder mapping exercise had been undertaken, as part of the preparation for engagement, with the youth workers, who had considerable experience in working in local communities.




·            The Service was well aware of the need to be more evidence-based, and was using the tracking tools to enable young people to be monitored across different services.  The Service would be able to track what worked most effectively and would implement continuous improvement processes into this.




·            The Service would be happy to refer the initial proposals, as well as the amended proposals, following consultation, to this Committee for consideration prior to adoption.




·            The Council had worked, and would continue to work, very closely with Sheffield Futures throughout the transition period, and would continue to maintain a strong working relationship in order to ensure that both parties were aligning their services for young people in the city.  Sheffield Futures would continue to offer some excellent services for young people, which were not part of the Council contract.  The survey undertaken of staff has shown that they had all been happy with the transfer, and that they had all been given the relevant equipment required.  All staff had been reassured in terms of their positions, having met with senior management and relevant Cabinet Members.  All staff were working well, and undertaking a great job, in very difficult circumstances, and had all been fully integrated in the transition process.




·            Work to improve the performance regarding return interviews following young people going missing formed part of the improvement plan currently being worked on by the Service.  This work would involve the use of the new screening and tracking tools.  It was not always easy to make contact with the returning young people within the required 72 hour timescale, with some young people not wishing to engage with the Service.  Some face-to-face interviews were still being held, where required, but mainly, at the present time, interviews were held by telephone or by virtual means.  The return interview process was very much similar to that used by Sheffield Futures, and potential improvements were being reviewed as part of a wider service review.  It was envisaged that now the Service was back in-house, and with the other improvements, such as the Amber Project, there was likely to be an increase in the number of return interviews.




·            In terms of the next steps regarding the Make Your Mark ballot, the three local priorities had been voted for.  The Sheffield Youth Cabinet would now be asked to draw up a series of action plans in terms of the action they would like to see in terms of the three priorities - Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Improvements to places to go and things to do.




·            The 84 young people highlighted as being at potential risk of being NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) were aged between 14 and 16.  They had been so identified due to school attendance and other risk of NEET indicators and, whilst schools had the statutory responsibility to support the children through career pathways whilst at school, the Youth Service would provide services over and above this.  A number of the children had elected to be home educated, and the Service was also working with them. 




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the information reported as part of the presentation now made, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised;




(b)      thanks Laura Hayfield for attending the meeting and responding to the questions raised; and




(c)      requests that arrangements be made for (i) the Make Your Mark Action Plans to be shared at a future meeting, when completed and (ii) the revised Youth Services Strategy, to be submitted to a future meeting for comment.


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