Tony Parker, Director of Children and Young People’s Commissioning and Improvement at Lambeth Council, has sent out a clear message. Young Lambeth Co-op (YLC) had achieved a lot within the last three or four years, providing services and commissioning services for young people in the borough.
But he acknowledged that there were also gaps in provision which need to be filled by more than one organisation, with relevant and different skills and strengths. So the council is taking back commissioning of services and some direct provision to enable them to work with the voluntary sector to develop strong partnerships and consortiums that will bring in more money and develop visible CYP pathways to services.
To continue providing what YLC is relinquishing, Lambeth is looking to commission three organisations to provide:
- a youth council
- infrastructure and sustainability (including capacity building)
- early intervention, which should include addressing youth violence and pathway coordination.
But why was all this necessary? After all, YLC has been delivering the services and awarding grants to community and voluntary sector (CVS) partnerships.
Well, from CVS bidding partnerships’ point of view, the process encouraged even stiffer competition among the groups, and some of the groups lost their funding simply because they were in the losing partnerships for their locality.
From the council’s point of view, it no longer makes sense to commission an organisation who then commissions to smaller groups. To save on costs, this is best done in house – and, if I may add, it allows the council to make systematic cuts.
From YLC’s point of view, the decision to relinquish some of their responsibilities was necessary to safeguard some of their legacy streams and to address internal legacy/resource imbalance.
The break off point is the end of September 2019. Before then, the voluntary sector will be engaged in conversations with the council on how best deliver services to CYP.