A `short-sighted' sacrifice

20th January 1995 at 00:00
I was heartened to read your editorial in support of the National Youth Agency. You are right: it was formed from several smaller agencies to be a "one-stop shop" for the youth service. Its role is that of supporting young people through those who work with them, whether in LEAs, the voluntary sector or the business community.

As the former chair of the agency until my departure to Hong Kong in 1993, I can confirm that through the agency's four-year existence it has been plagued by Department for Education "reviews" despite its undoubted success in the key fields of information, curriculum, support for Government initiatives - particularly those outside the remit of the DFE - and for hard-pressed LEA youth services.

It seems short-sighted, to say the least, to reduce the agency's role at a time when LEA budgets are under extreme pressure, and when youth unemployment is high, simply because the agency's director has had the courage to point up these issues. Perhaps the DFE should be looking at its own Youth Service Unit and asking whether that should not be sacrificed in order to maintain a highly effective agency.

JENNIFER WISKER

Former chair

National Youth Agency

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