A letter to councillors at Central Bedfordshire:

I am a Town councillor for Parkside, Houghton Regis.

I am very concerned for the future of young people in Houghton Regis, and more widely throughout Central Bedfordshire. I am very disappointed to learn of the decision by Council to fully cease its Connexions Service by mid March 2011. And I am now bitterly concerned that the council may decide to fully close down the Youth Service. The authority really is not allowing for any transition periods to build up the voluntary sector. Further, I think it is just a pretence to create a commissioning team, since it will have no funds to commission.

I do fully recognise the current economic climate. But if you close down all key preventative support services to young people, this is going to lead to a failure of meeting young people’s needs, as well as an increase to more expensive specialist services. Additionally, there is a total failure to recognise the greater risk young people will have to involvement in crime, becoming NEET, or homeless.

The proposals are false economy. Initially this proposal will make a saving, but in the long term it actually will cost the authority more through the cost of expensive crisis services, such as social services or youth offending services, who will only get involved once problems have occurred. The estimated cost of a young person in the criminal justice system is £200,000 by the age of 16 and the estimated cost annually of each young person not in employment, education or training is £56,300.

You really should be setting up a working group to explore other options. These decisions by Central Bedfordshire Council could easily lead to young people actually needing more expensive specialist support services.

Stop protecting ‘back room’ corporate services, maintain the critical front line, challenge this naive and rash decision urgently.

I do hope to hear from you as soon as possible.


  1. I went to the Childrens Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting today. Amongst other things, the issue with the Youth Service was discussed.

    You'll be pleased to hear that despite working towards deleting the Youth Service in one phase, the decision was taken to recommend to Exec, on 7th Decemnber, that the schedule goes back to the 2 phase model!

    We will still lose our Youth Service eventually and some will be still losing their jobs in March 2011, but hopefully we will now have a team to work towards the third & voluntary sectors having more input, rather than just seeing how the voluntary sector gets on with it.

    There is still no certainty of how commissioning will be funded, but at least we have a breather space.

  2. The meeting took place: here is the outcome- http://www.facebook.com/notes/houghton-regis-news-desk/youth-service-cuts-recommendation-not-to-cut-so-harshly/454417086055


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