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Youth service 'fractured';FE Focus

LOCAL government reorganisation over the past three years has fractured the youth service, according to the latest survey carried out by the Community and Youth Workers Union. Altogether 20 per cent of posts have been lost since 1992, many of them in the new unitary authorities.

Doug Nicholls, CYWU general secretary, said the impact of local government reorganisation had been twofold. "The new authorities and the remaining counties have reduced their staffing. Staff have also been brought in with no knowledge of the local terrain. In some new LEAs the youth service had been put in the social services department and elsewhere it has been put in leisure."

The unitary authorities had made disproportionately large cuts, he said, although it was not possible to get figures from all the new councils. The north of England had been hardest hit: Sunderland cut nine full-time equivalent posts last year. North Yorkshire pared its force from 128 to 52 posts, partly as a result of reorganisation, and South Tyneside from 186 to 88.

Bedfordshire was shedding more than two-thirds of its staff (86 down to 27) and the Isle of Wight three-quarters (24 down to six). "This is one of the most detailed surveys we have undertaken - and perhaps the most disturbing yet," Mr Nicholls said.

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