YouthLink Scotland Response to the Call for Evidence on the Long-Term Financial Sustainability of Local Government (Local Government Committee)
YouthLink Scotland’s response to the Call for Evidence on the Long-Term Financial Sustainability of Local Government can be found here.
We acknowledge the pressure placed on local authorities and the voluntary sector, so in a time of financial challenges for Scotland’s local authorities, it is crucial to draw attention to the value of youth work and evidence that investing in our young people provides considerable long-term benefits.
YouthLink Scotland recently announced its #InvestInYouthWork campaign to show the value of youth work in Scotland. Our recent survey of youth workers highlights perceived reductions to youth work services, budgets and staffing across Scotland over the last three years and this is a serious concern. The response summarises the main arguments for prioritising investment in youth work – how it changes the lives of young people (the most crucial point of all), the value of youth workers, and the wider social and economic benefits. It concludes with the key outcomes we would like to see in relation to budgeting and resourcing of local authority youth services.
Summary of recommendations:
- Access to youth work opportunities available to all young people as an essential part of their education.
- Comprehensive funding of youth work services.
- Acknowledgement of the importance of both universal and targeted services and investment in both.
- Core funding for local authority youth work services and a discussion on what a statutory duty to provide youth work for young people would look like.
- Youth work budgets in every local council to include designated monies for sessional staff, support for volunteer and youth forums, as well as support for third sector youth work organisations.
- An undertaking of Child Rights Impact Assessments at both a national and local authority level on budgetary decisions.
- Youth work budgets collected and published separate to broader Community Learning and Development budgets in order to promote transparency about the level of local service provision.
- Young people playing an active part in decisions that affect their services - including budgetary decisions.