7 Targeted support |
Role of local authorities
110. Following the Education Act 2011, the role
of local authorities in careers guidance is limited to assisting
the most vulnerable young people and those at risk of disengaging
with education or work. These groups often require greater levels
of career support and services targeted to their needs.
Vulnerable young people are less likely to have access to informal
sources of careers advice and guidance and are more likely to
become NEET (not in education, employment or training). Interim
findings of a survey by the Prince's Trust indicated that 69%
of respondents felt that careers information, advice and guidance
provided to their target group (care leavers, teenage parents,
young offenders, those with special educational needs or disabilities
and those at risk of becoming NEET) was ineffective or very ineffective.
111. Guidance provided for local authorities
by the DfE sets out that they have a statutory duty to encourage,
enable and assist young people's participation in education or
training. The guidance says that it expects local authorities
to utilise the Early Intervention Grant to "support young
people to engage in education and training, intervening early
with those who are at risk of disengagement". But the guidance
is clear that it is for local authorities themselves to determine
"what services are necessary to fulfil their statutory responsibility".
112. We heard evidence of a wide variation in
the support offered by local authorities to targeted groups across
the country. Judith Denyer of Propects explained to us: "Some
local authorities' interpretation of their statutory duties is
basically, 'I am just going to do something with LDD [learning
difficulty and disability] young people,' and even other vulnerable
groups are not getting the level of access they would have had
She added that she had some targeted support contracts worth five
times more in one borough than in a neighbouring borough.
In a similar vein, Mary Vine-Morris of London Councils said that
only around 30% of 16-18 year-old NEETs in London were receiving
the local authority targeted provision.
A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) quotes a local
authority officer from Greater Manchester, who was concerned that
some local authorities were only targeting their support at "traditional"
vulnerable groups, and that "some vulnerable young people
will not be detected, including those who 'fall in and out of
113. More positively, the LGA also indicated
that some local authorities are working hard to redesign services
for targeted groups, citing Leeds City Council and County Durham
as examples where this work is taking place.
Councillor David Simmonds of the LGA added in oral evidence that
Kent County Council was working to develop its own Risk of NEET
114. The Minister reinforced the importance of
targeted services for vulnerable young people, with particular
reference to those who are likely to become NEET. He said:
This is a really important area, and the link-up
between schools and local authorities on early targeting and data-sharing
on which pupils are likely to become NEET, and then on putting
in place early steps to deal with it, is absolutely crucial [...]
It is their [local authorities'] responsibility to work with schools
in their area, whether they are academies or not, to identify
who is likely to go into that category and to deal with it. I
think that is really important.
115. We believe that careers
guidance services are an integral part of the support package
needed by vulnerable young people. We are concerned that there
appears to be too much variation in local authorities' interpretation
of what constitutes a targeted group. We recommend that the Department
of Education promotes the activities of the best performing local
authorities so that best practice in identifying and delivering
services to targeted young people is shared.
116. The Youth Contract provides £1 billion
to supplement the role of schools and local authorities with a
range of opportunities to help young people access education,
training and work. Within this, there is a discrete provision
(worth £126 million over three years) for 16-17 year olds
who are not in education, employment or training and who are at
greatest risk of long term disengagement.
The Government has awarded contracts for this work regionally
to private companies and third sector organisations. In a small
number of areas the Government has devolved the funding to City
Deals to buy services on a local level.
117. The DfE told us that the focus of the programme
ensures that the "Youth Contract targets those who most need
It informed us that the programme was being managed by the Education
Funding Agency to ensure coherence with other local initiatives.
It also said that providers will "need to work alongside
local authorities to agree priorities".
118. Criticisms of the regional commissioning
of the programme were made by local authorities. For example,
we were told that the Youth Contract was awarded in areas without
local authorities being consulted by the successful bidder on
the needs of the young people within the area.
The LGA claimed that:
the nationally commissioned model has offered minimal
engagement with councils [...] As a result, there is a risk that
provision will not be integrated with exiting local activity [...]
the consequence of this is that this element of the Youth Contract
will sit outside existing efforts and investments in all local
areas making the offer to young people complicated and confusing.
119. The Minister agreed that more needed to
be done to bring local authorities into the delivery of the Youth
Contract. In response to questioning on the lack of local authority
involvement in the letting of the Youth Contracts, he told us
that "the best practice is where local authorities are involved,
and it is very clear that, in some areas, that works really well".
He did not, however, accept the criticism that local authorities
were not consulted in the letting of regional contracts.
120. We welcome the Minister's assurance that
the Government is in discussion with the LGA about the Youth Contract.
While it may be too early to judge the effectiveness of the Youth
Contract, we have concerns that the national providers are not
sufficiently linked into the local networks and that this risks
a duplication of services and young people falling between the
121. We recommend that the
Government ensures that discussions take place between local authorities
and the regional Youth Contract providers about the delivery of
the Youth Contract on a local level.
163 Ev w63, Ev w92 para 5.1 Back
Ev w48 Back
Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities on Targeted Support Services
for Young People, DfE, April 2011 Back
Q 69 Back
Q 109 (Judith Denyer) Back
Q 109 (Mary Vine-Morris) Back
Filmer-Sankey, C and McCrone, T (2012), Hidden Talents: Examples
of Transition of Careers Guidance from Local Authorities to Schools
(LGA Research Report), Slough: NFER Back
Ev 58 Back
Q 97 Back
Q 291 Back
Ev 80 Back
Ev 121 Back
Ev 64 Back
Q 292 Back
Q 293 Back
Q 294 Back