A proposal outlining how support services for young people will be delivered in light of reductions in funding for Connexions services will be discussed by Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet next week (TUES 14 SEPT).
Connexions currently provides a range of services including career information, advice and guidance for young people; encouraging participation in education and training and supporting young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Councillor Joan Kirkbride, deputy leader of the council, said: “Earlier this year, the government announced reductions in funding which directly affects the services provided by Connexions.
“Since then, we have been working with Connexions to draw up plans to minimise the impact of the reduced funding while protecting the most valuable services and ensuring that statutory requirements are met.”
The proposed structure places priority on prevention and early intervention services. This would be achieved through better integration of services within schools and colleges and embedding the service within existing 14-19 area-based partnerships, negating the need for high street premises currently occupied by Connexions.
The proposed structure also prioritises services for vulnerable young people, including those learning difficulties and disabilities.
The proposal builds on the successful year-on-year reduction since 2005 in the numbers of young people not in education, training or employment by placing 75 per cent of available resources into early intervention and prevention work, with the remaining 25 per cent into work with vulnerable groups.
The proposals focus on the current financial year. Funding available for the future delivery of the service beyond March 2011 is currently unknown pending the outcome of the comprehensive spending review.
On 10 June 2010, the government announced a 24 per cent in-year reduction in Northamptonshire’s area-based grant. The Connexions element of the grant accounts for over 40 per cent of the DfE element of ABG funding.
In response to the reduction, the council and Connexions have drawn up proposals for an in-year saving of £1.1 million on top of an earlier proposed reduction of £250,000, bringing the total savings to £1.3 million.