Councils consider mutuals and social enterprises among new funding models for youth services

By David Bicknell

The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham has  proposed a pilot scheme to set up an employee-led mutual to deliver services to schools and the council, with the council commissioning some services from the mutual for a four year period.  But what are other councils doing in the area of children and youth services?

This article about youth services on the Children & Young People Now site suggests that according to a recent study, when questioned about alternative funding models for funding youth services, 34 per cent of local authorities say they are considering social enterprises, 20 per cent are looking into youth mutuals and 15 per cent say they are currently considering outsourcing their entire youth service to another provider. Overall, only 37 per cent are considering any alternative models of funding.

The article quotes Sue Payne, chair of the Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services, which brings together council youth chiefs, saying that CYP Now’s study highlighted that councils are “increasing the number of services they are commissioning.”

Payne said the study showed encouraging signs that authorities are seeking new funding avenues. “There are quite a lot of moves towards social enterprises and youth mutuals,” she said, adding that only a year ago very few youth services would have considered these options.

She added the point that that “You can’t just create good delivery systems overnight”. Although external providers had a strong track record in delivering information, advice and guidance, she said, this was not the case in areas such as targeted youth support.

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