SHEFFIELD: Final decision on youth services after months of friction between councillors

A contract for youth services will come back in-house to Sheffield Council following several weeks of tense disputes between councillors.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 3:51 pm

Back in March, Council Leader Julie Dore announced the 15-year contract with Sheffield Futures would not be renewed and instead the service would be brought back to the council and an additional £2m would be invested.

But the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party were unhappy with lack of detail in a report and paused the decision.

There was a fractious scrutiny meeting, which chairman Mick Rooney called to an end after two and half hours, saying it had "left a sour taste in his mouth".

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The discussion then went to the Cabinet - with a new, more in-depth report - where it was agreed.

Coun Dore criticised opposition councillors for delaying the process. She told Cabinet: "A Labour administration's default position when contracts are due to expire is we wish to in-source them so public services are delivered by public servants unless it's not appropriate. To re-tender was untenable to us.

"I was profoundly disappointed with the Lib Dems and Greens not being able to put politics aside. They voted against in our March budget to invest this extra funding into our young people.

"I'm disappointed that we took this decision in March and by calling it in, during this period we could have been consulting with our trade unions and members of staff."

The Lib Dems hit back after the meeting, saying there needed to be more scrutiny.

Shadow cabinet member for children and young people, Coun Mike Levery, said:

"It is already a difficult time for young people with the impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty around their education.

"What they don’t need is yet more turbulence in their lives in September at the time when secondary education is expected to fully restart. The outcome of the Cabinet decision must now go for further scrutiny before the final decision is made.”

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