Lib Dems block council's plans to cancel Sheffield Futures contract
Councillors in Sheffield have temporarily blocked plans to cancel a contract with a charity which works with young people.
Two months ago, Coun Julie Dore, Sheffield Council leader, announced Sheffield Futures, which has delivered youth services for the past 15 years, would not have its contract renewed.
Instead, the service would be brought back in-house and the council would invest an extra £2 million in young people and offer more wraparound care with better integration of services including schools, safeguarding, youth justice and mental health.
However, opposition Liberal Democrat councillors have put the brakes on the plans, because they are worried about the impact on young people and Sheffield Futures.
Councillors can call-in a decision if they are concerned about it.
It means it will now be discussed by members of the council’s children and young people's scrutiny board next week.
Coun Mike Levery called the item in and was backed by fellow Liberal Democrats Coun Penny Baker and Coun Steve Ayris.
Coun Levery said: “The main concern is this work has been carried out by Sheffield Futures for many years and the decision has been made to bring it in-house, but we want to go through the reasons why.
“Why was Sheffield Futures not given the opportunity to be part of this process?
“We need to explore why they were not involved in future developments.”
When the decision was announced in March, Sheffield Futures said it was ‘business as normal’ for the time being.
At the time, Gail Gibbons, its chief executive, said: “We absolutely welcome an ambitious strategy for young people.
“We’ve been closely involved with putting together its direction, so support many of its aims, such as building upon the successful partnerships that are already delivering many of these services.
“We’re delighted to hear about the investment of a further £2m, something we have been advocating for some time, and look forward to hearing how this will enhance delivery for young people.
“However, we have concerns around the impact on Sheffield Futures and frontline delivery, in terms of the proposal to take these services in-house, and we're seeking discussions with the local authority on how this might work."