The Board gave consideration to the Youth Council Motion on the topic of Knife Crime which was agreed at Council on 10th July 2019. The Council was asked to carry out an overview and scrutiny of the current youth offer across Oldham to ensure there was a broad range of high-quality activities available to all young people that were accessible regarding of where they lived.
The Chair had met representatives of the Youth Council and the Youth Service to discuss the motion. Representatives of the Youth Council were invited to the meeting to discuss the information as contained in the report.
Members were informed of the ‘Make Your Mark’ vote taken by young people and Knife Crime had been raised as the largest concern.
Members were informed of the further investment made by the Council to bolster the youth offer over the next two years, which was partly Council funded and also through the Community Safety and Cohesion Partnership with funding from Greater Manchester. Based on conversations with young people and elected members the lack of youth workers in districts was evident. Members were informed that the investment would deliver 8 youth worker posts across the borough.
Members were informed that serious violence was a key issue and it was expected that there would be a new statutory duty under the new Serious Violence Bill. Members were informed of approaches to prevent young people from getting involved in crime through public health. Key elements included workforce development and training and capacity building in communities including attainment of Level 1 and 2 in Youth Work.
The Youth Council informed that they had visited Glasgow which had experienced success in tackling crime, the awareness raising campaign in schools and the Youth Council with the Youth Services would be delivering a Youth Summit around knife crime and other issues. Members were informed of the ‘Building Blocks’ around staff and workforce development, developing a consistent mainstream offer for young people across all Oldham’s districts, understand future funding opportunities to sustain a youth work offer, understand what mapping showed, member engagement and future Government policy and guidance.
Members asked about the recruitment of staff. Members were informed that the Council processes would be followed. The Level 2 post had been filled through an internal promotion. The other posts were currently advertised. Members sought and received information about the flexibility of the qualification.
Members commented and expressed their thanks on the successful work over the summer. Members asked when the new law would be out and if members of the community would undertake youth worker qualifications. Members were informed that community organisations existed and that some had already expressed interest in the training. With regard to the law, no date could be provided. When it did a briefing paper would be provided.
Members sought clarification on the age range and the position of Oldham within Greater Manchester with regard to the perception of violence. Members were informed that Oldham was not different from any other borough in Greater Manchester. Members were informed of work in schools. There had been some high-profile incidents but there had been activity in taking action against individuals and premises. The work related to the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme and Street Angels was also referenced. For the purpose of the strategy the age was up to 25.
Members asked about the current youth offer and the offer overall in districts. Members were informed that all the youth offer would need to be identified and mapped which would take time. This would be completed through conversations with members, organisations, community groups and schools. This would also be connected into the mainstream offer who provided intelligence and helped in the identification of any targeted approach.
Members expressed concerns for those young people who were carers and asked that they be included in any youth service offer and activities available to them outside school hours. Officers agreed to look at this. Members were informed that Positive Steps had a link with the Carers Forum.
Members commented on the number of strategies and the extent to which they were operated and coordinated. Members were informed that a key part was to develop a strategic alliance of providers which was part of the mapping exercise to identify gaps.
Members noted the work being undertaken on the Youth Offer, the mapping of activities being undertaken and that this be reviewed as a part of a workshop and the sustainability of the offer.
1. The report on Youth Violence and the Oldham Youth Offer and the information provided at the meeting be noted.
2. An update on the Oldham Youth Offer be received by the Overview and Scrutiny Board in 12 months time.
3. A workshop be organised to discuss the mapping exercise following the Youth Summit in February 2020.