The population of the borough is 111,500 (1991 census) with 20% (22,300) of these being under 16 years

The population of the borough is 111,500 (1991 census) with 20% (22,300) of these being under 16 years

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YOUTHSTRATEGY2002 - 2004I.McKIE, HEAD OF LEISURECONTENTS1) FOREWORD – Cllr Nokes2) BACKGROUND3) PROGRESS TO DATEThe StrategyPartnerships4) BEST VALUEA Good Service?Continuous Improvement5) KEY ISSUES – NATIONAL PERSPECTIVEConnexionsCitizenshipChildren’s FundCommunity Planningy SafetyChanges to Housing legislation6) KEY ISSUES – LOCAL PERSPECTIVE7) THE COUNCIL’S ROLE8) ACTION PLANAppendices1) Proportion of young people by ward2) Progress to date3) Best Value Improvement Plan1) FOREWORD“Over one third of our Borough’s population is aged under 24, and it is vital that theissues that concern and involve them feature prominently in our forward planning.The young people of Test Valley are more than an integral part of our Borough – theyare out future. It is important that they feel positive about the area, are involved intheir communities and that the contribution they make is recognised and appreciated.In time they will be the ones running activities and perhaps will even becomecouncillors!I was very pleased with the outcome of the Best Value Review – which recognisedthe positive work that has already been done with and for young people. We haveachieved a great deal and should be proud of the recognition. But the work does notstop. The Review identified ways in which we can improve further and by using thisguidance we intend to make Test Valley an even better place for young people tolive.”Councillor Caroline Nokes, Portfolio Holder ...

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YOUTH STRATEGY
2002 - 2004
I.McKIE, HEAD OF LEISURE
CONTENTS
1) FOREWORD – Cllr Nokes
2) BACKGROUND
3) PROGRESS TO DATE
The Strategy Partnerships
4) BEST VALUE
A Good Service? Continuous Improvement
5) KEY ISSUES – NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Connexions Citizenship Children’s Fund Community Planning Community Safety Changes to Housing legislation
6) KEY ISSUES – LOCAL PERSPECTIVE
7) THE COUNCIL’S ROLE
8) ACTION PLAN
Appendices
1) Proportion of young people by ward 2) Progress to date 3) Best Value Improvement Plan
1) FOREWORD “Over one third of our Borough’s population is aged under 24, and it is vital that the issues that concern and involve them feature prominently in our forward planning. The young people of Test Valley are more than an integral part of our Borough – they are out future. It is important that they feel positive about the area, are involved in their communities and that the contribution they make is recognised and appreciated. In time they will be the ones running activities and perhaps will even become councillors! I was very pleased with the outcome of the Best Value Review – which recognised the positive work that has already been done with and for young people. We have achieved a great deal and should be proud of the recognition. But the work does not stop. The Review identified ways in which we can improve further and by using this guidance we intend to make Test Valley an even better place for young people to live.” Councillor Caroline Nokes, Portfolio Holder for Leisure
2) BACKGROUND Youth is one of eight corporate programmes underpinning the Council’s Corporate Plan of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise. It helps to deliver the Council’s statutory duty to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of its residents. The programme encompasses all services across the Council working with young people including leisure, housing, environment & health, economic development and administration and covers the age range 0-25 years. It also includes work with external partners such as Hampshire County Youth Service, Police, Test Valley Community Services, Schools and Youth Groups. Local services for young people have improved over recent years in conjunction with receiving a more equitable share of the County’s resources following a restructure of the County Youth Service in 2000. Since this time a successful partnership between the Borough Council and the County Youth Service has ensured the development of new youth projects. The recent Best Value review recognised the Council’s approach as “providing a core enabling, empowering, strategic role which looked to out-source delivery on the ground wherever possible”. The Council has limited resources and great emphasis has therefore been placed on the issues that young people feel are important. Young people under 24 make up 31% of the Borough’s population with 20% (22,300) of these being under 16 years of age. The Borough has the second highest population of young people in the county. A full break down by ward is shown in appendix 1. The Council has 3.8 full time equivalent staff across all services, in theory working with 31% (aged under 24) of the population, (this involves 20 staff).
3) PROGRESS TO DATE The Strategy The Council’s first youth strategy was approved in 1998. The current format was approved in December 2000. The aim is to: “Establish a range of services and opportunities to allow all young people aged 0-25 to improve their quality of life and achieve their potential as empowered individuals.” The Council has five strategic objectives as follows: AIM BY Engage young people in democracy, involving young people in service citizenship and decision-making planning.  promoting active citizenship, ownership and pride in the community.  engaging young people in the democratic and electoral process.  tackling youth crime. Promote lifelong healthy lifestyles through a Developing a network of social outlets to range of social, physical and educational promote youth culture. opportunities. Providing a wide range of artistic, cultural and sporting activities.  Promoting involvement in creating and maintaining a sustainable and physical environment.  Preventing homelessness and support homeless young people. Promote and improve the good health of Raising awareness of the issues relating young people to substance misuse.  Providing advice and support to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.  Promoting the mental health of young people. Promote social inclusion and increase access Improving transport links. to services. Co-ordinating and disseminating information using the latest technology.  Targeting small pockets of need. Enable young people to develop personal, Acknowledging the role of learning & social and lifelong learning skills. personal development.  Providing pathways to employment, careers and self-development.
The recent Best Value review highlighted the need to challenge the strategic aims of the Council, to ensure a joined up approach with key partners and to ensure the aims reflect real need. The member wish list will also help to shape future provision. The challenge process will begin in 2002 to coincide with the County’s own Best Value review of youth services and the launch of the Council’s Youth Citizen’s Panel which
will provide a consistent platform for consultation. The strategic direction of the Council and how it works with its partners will evolve over the next 18 months in line with the challenge exercise and the community planning process. The aim is to develop a joint strategy document with the County Council. Partnerships The Council has developed a number of successful partnerships and recognises that the youth strategy must make appropriate connections with other important strategic plans both within the Council and those of external partners. Some of the key plans include: Hampshire Youth Service Strategy Community Safety Strategy Health Improvement Programme Education Development Plan Early Years and Childcare Strategy Drug Action Team Plan Youth Justice Plan Homelessness & Housing Advice Strategy Improving Local Democracy Programme Economic and Regeneration Programme Leisure & Culture Programme Rural Strategy Sexual Health Strategy The investment in discrete youth services has increased with a net revenue expenditure for youth across all service activities in 2001/2002 of £308,930, a spend per head for under 24s of £8.93. The Council’s overall net revenue expenditure for 2001/2002 equates to £85.14 spend per head with an overall proportion of the Council’s revenue budget spent on youth of 3.25%. The Council spent £633,554 on youth related capital projects in the same year equating to £18.30 per head, (18.1% of the Council’s capital budget). The total spend per head of the population was £31.20. Many new initiatives have been developed over the past three years to improve services for young people (see appendix 2). The aim is that the current programme of development will continue. Future developments will include a Youth Citizen’s Panel, a local democracy programme in schools, youth website, and the development of the youth network through projects such as the Healthy Living Centre network, the Foyer in Andover, a youth/sports complex at Charlton and the community centre at River/Pilgrims Way in Andover. A mapping exercise on young peoples’ mental health issues is also being undertaken to identify the current provision and to plan new services. 4) BEST VALUE A Good Service (Two Star, Promising Prospects for Improvement) The recent Best Value cross cutting youth review allowed the Council to scrutinise and challenge its current approach to young people. In summary the inspectors were
clear about the existing strategic aims and recognised the strong links with key partners such as the Youth Service. They recognised a positive relationship between the strategic objectives and what is actually done on the ground with reference to projects such as the Healthy Living Centres, the XS youth magazine, sports and arts programme, the youth councils, the foyer and the junior citizens project. The service received a two star (GOOD) judgement for its services to date. Only 185 out of 500 inspections carried out during 2001 received an award of 2 or 3 stars. Continuous Improvement An improvement plan has been produced to ensure continuous improvement (appendix 3). The key issues emerging included the need to improve corporate working, to build on the strategic approach, improve performance management and trend data and to further map and develop partnership working. The recently developed Youth Development Group comprising representatives from all departments involved in working with young people will be a forum through which these improvements can be made over the next few years. However the assessment made by the Audit Commission is conditional and subject to the appropriate resources being in place to move the plan forward.
5) KEY ISSUES NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE  In November 2000 the Government launched the new Children and Young People’s Unit to drive forward investment in services for children and young people.  “at the heart of the approachIn its strategic document Tomorrow’s Future it states is the recognition that we should have high expectations for every child and should work to ensure that provision for children and young people is designed to give every child an equal opportunity to develop”1.  Young people face many pressures today. The challenge and expectation of all youth agencies is now to maximise the support that can be offered with a clear message that to work in isolation in tackling the issues is no longer the accepted practice.  in four children is likely to have experienced theBy the time they reach 16, one divorce of his or her parents.1  One in four 19 year olds fails to achieve a post GCSE qualification.1  11% of 11-15 year olds use illegal dru1 gs.
                                                          1Tomorrow’s Future – Building a Strategy for Children and Young People, 2001
 Around 10% of children aged 5-15 in 1998 had a mental disorder of sufficient severity to cause them distress or have a considerable effect on the way they live.1  Three out of five children in every classroom are estimated to have witnessed domestic violence of some kind.1  More than one in three 12-15 year olds are assaulted each year.1  of 15-24 year olds said they knew just a little or hardly anything about the81% way Parliament works.2  88% of 15-24 year olds said they knew just a little or hardly anything about the local council.2 These issues are mirrored to a greater or lesser extent at a local level. The Council has a duty to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of its residents and has made great strides to adopt a multi-agency approach to tackle the issues facing young people in the Borough. We will continue to develop and build upon the achievements of the Council’s Youth Strategy as outlined in the improvement plan. The challenge now is to make the most of the new opportunities emerging such as the £450 million Children’s Fund the Connexions scheme and the Sure Start programme. We need a clear strategic approach to pool the resources of the voluntary, community and statutory sectors and this is key to delivering the Government’s vision locally. The Council is uniquely placed to offer a strategic role, to influence, support and mould innovative new services. Adopting a clearly defined “joined up” approach is not only key to making the most of new opportunities and in ensuring local young people have maximum benefit, but will also allow the Council to meet its own statutory obligations. CONNEXIONS By 2004 every young person ages 13-19 will have access to the Connexions service, through personal advisors, drop in centres, telephone or internet enabled support. Connexions will provide young people with advice, guidance, support and personal development to help them achieve a successful transition from their teenage years into adult life. The Hampshire partnership one of the pilot areas, will roll out the scheme in April 2002 with an average of £3 million new funds allocated for each partnership. The scheme is set to revolutionise the way youth services are delivered and the Borough Council must ensure it is involved, can influence and contribute to local provision.
                                                          
¹Tomorrow’s Future – Building a Strategy for Children and Young People, 2001 2The Big Turn Off, Adam Smith Institute, 2000
CITIZENSHIP Test Valley is not unique in recognising that its young people often feel disenfranchised and without a voice3. There is a growing recognition that the concept of citizenship, (the social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy of young people) will benefit the community at large. The subject is now high on the Government’s agenda with the recent introduction of initiatives such as the UK Youth Parliament. It is in our interest to support the national framework at a local level so that a clear framework for young people can be established. Schools now have a statutory duty to include citizenship as part of the curriculum and are increasingly looking to local councils for support in delivering the programme. The borough Council is uniquely placed to promote this through its statutory duty for Electoral Registration and elections, through service planning and community development and through the political framework that exists. CHILDREN’S FUND This is a key part of a new range of measures to ensure that children and young people at risk of social exclusion get the best start in life. £380 million of the fund will target preventative work for 5-13 year olds and seeks to encourage inter-agency work, based within the neighbourhood community, support for children showing early signs of difficulties, long term improvement through building capacity within the community and the involvement of children, young people, their parents and their families as service users, in planning and delivering services. COMMUNITY PLANNING The Council is in the early stages of developing a Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) for Test Valley that will be responsible for the preparation and implementation of a community strategy. Discussion is continuing with key partners about how the LSP should be established and the details of its membership. It will be important to ensure that the views of young people are included in the LSP's discussions and appropriate arrangements will be made to incorporate representatives from youth organisations. COMMUNITY SAFETY The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 put a statutory duty on public bodies to consider community safety in every aspect of their work. Every 3 years an audit of crime and disorder and the fear of crime is carried out to enable agencies to review priorities and focus initiatives based both on agency data and residents’ surveys. The Community Safety Strategy makes a number of references to young people. Youth crime is at a fairly low level but there is a perception that it is higher than it actually is. CHANGES TO HOUSING LEGISLATION The extension of priority need categories will be introduced by Statutory Order in 2002. This will have an impact on housing services for young people by including 16 and 17 year olds and care leavers aged 18 to 21. The Council will therefore have a new duty to secure accommodation for these groups.                                                           3Youth Matters Research, 1998
6) KEY ISSUES LOCAL PERSPECTIVE  Almost half of the population lives in the 100 scattered villages4 studies. Recent have consistently identified pockets of social isolation caused by problems of access for certain minority groups within the population. Those with regular access to a car, whether as driver or passenger, enjoy high levels of accessibility but those without, particularly in rural areas, experience disadvantage and social exclusion. This can be a particular problem for young people who rarely have their own form of transport.4  The mortality rate from suicide and injury undetermined for the 5-14 age group is 2.2 per 100,000 in Test Valley compared to 0.2 nationally.  in Test Valley is 7.5 per 1000 young women.The conception rates for under 16s This is higher than the south-east regional figure5   Test Valley has a small ethnic minority population, (1.8% at the 1991 Census).  6Andover has a higher rate of young people smoking, 26% compared to the national average of 21%.  Andover has the 3rd highest rate in Hampshire of females working 31 hours or more  Local secondary school statistics show that Test Valley has the 2nd % of lowest young people eligible for free school meals, this being 4.61%. Test Valley has 0.22% exclusions (12 pupils) ranking it 5thout of eleven boroughs in the county.  During 2000/01 there were 47 children on the child protection register in Test Valley. This represents 19 children in every 10,000 compared to a rate of 15 in every 10,000 for the county.  revealed that theft/handling accounts for 40% of crimesThe recent Crime Audit committed by young people  Juvenile crime peaks during the summer months and in 1999 accounted for 66.8% of the total crime & disorder offences.  There is a growing level of homelessness and currently over 40% of applicants on the housing register are young single people.  accepted a duty to accommodate 54 lone parentsDuring the past year the Council who are under 25 -50 females, of which 4 were 16/17 year olds -4 males, of which 1 was 16/17 year olds                                                           4Test Valley Borough Council Rural Strategy 2001 5Department of Health Compendium of Clinical and Health Indicators 2002 6Hampshire Childcare Strategy
 During the past year the Council accepted a duty to accommodate 9 one person households who are under 25.  There is a high proportion of lone parent households in Test Valley.  In August 2000 the Government published its Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD2000) based on six aspects of deprivation: income, employment, health deprivation and disability, education skills & training, housing and geographic access to services. Overall the Borough of Test Valley is fairly prosperous but the statistics show that of the 23 wards the most deprived are the urban wards of Alamein and St Mary’s in the north and Abbey ward in the south of the Borough.  One of the most striking conclusions from IMD2000 for Test Valley is the degree of consistency with which Alamein and St Mary’s appear not just within Hampshire but also in England. Each suffers from deprivation in terms of education and training with Alamein falling in the bottom 4% in Hampshire and in the bottom 6% in England. St Mary’s falls in the bottom 17% in Hampshire and the bottom quartile in the country in terms of overall deprivation.7
7) THE COUNCIL’S ROLE LEISURE The central co-ordinating role for youth lies within the Leisure Service. The basic purpose of the Leisure Service is: ‘To improve the quality of life and to enhance the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community by the development of cultural and creative interests’ Leisure functions impacting on young people include indoor leisure, arts, sports development, youth, parks, grants, childcare, museums, countryside, community liaison, marketing and events, allotments, facility development, tourism, cemeteries, grounds maintenance and outdoor leisure and playing fields. The impact of this work and its contribution to the youth programme can be seen in appendix 2.
HOUSING & COMMUNITY SAFETY The Housing Service has a number of statutory duties:  Housing the homeless – the Council assesses applications and provides accommodation to those who the Council accepts a duty for (eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need). Under 16s are not eligible.  Housing register – the Council holds the waiting list for accommodation. Under 18s are eligible to join, but will not be considered for accommodation until they are 18 (unless there are exceptional circumstances and a guarantor). Since January
2001, 400 housing register applications have been received by people 25 years or under  Housing advice – the Council has a duty to provide advice free of charge. This includes young people 16 and over. Advice includes matters on private renting, secure hostel accommodation and sign posting to other agencies. Work is also undertaken in schools as part of PSHE lessons. The Community Safety Strategy makes a number of references to young people. Initiatives are run by leisure, youth service, police and other partners to deter young people from crime, alcohol, drugs and to promote citizenship, address housing issues or to ensure personal safety. As community safety develops, residents are highlighting issues and asking for help to resolve them, whether through links to other agencies or empowering communities to work together i.e. through the implementation of residents’ groups, formulation or neighbourhood watch etc. A new strategy will be published in April 2002
ADMINISTRATION-Local Democracy & Citizenship The Electoral Service aims to encourage young electors to exercise their vote at Elections. The Registration Section aims to visit schools in the Borough to explain the procedure and value of the democratic election process and to ensure that 16 & 17 year olds are included in the annual Canvas Form for the Register of Electors. The importance of keeping their registration up to date with any subsequent address moves i.e. university, employment etc., will be emphasised and the provisions for “rolling” registration throughout the year explained.
ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH The health and wellbeing of young people is of prime concern. Working in partnership, the service has developed a number of initiatives to tackle local areas of concern including ‘The Tobacconists Award scheme’ and educational work in schools to reduce numbers of young smokers. Low self esteem and mental ill health is often the root cause of a variety of self-harming responses. These can impact on drugs and alcohol usage, homelessness, community safety and teenage pregnancies. It is estimated that 1 in 5 of young people will at some stage suffer from mental health problems. In Test Valley this could equate to 5,500 of the youth population. Road traffic accidents involving primary age children are high in Test Valley. Initiatives such as Junior Citizen, which promotes safety awareness and life-skills, aims to confront this problem. Our involvement with the government’s ‘Healthy Schools’ project, (led by the County Council) will address a variety of health and sustainability related elements.