Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity on the Devon Youth Service invitation to tender and authority to award a contract, attached.
An Impact Assessment is also attached for the attention of Members at this meeting.
(Councillors Connett, Dewhirst, Hannaford, Hodgson and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity on the Devon Youth Service invitation to tender and authority to award a contract, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Report highlighted that the Council’s contract with DYS Space Ltd for youth services was due to expire on 31 January 2020, after a three-year period. The current contract had been awarded following a tender process restricted to mutuals. Representations were made at a ‘market warming’ event with potential bidders on 15th May 2019 to extend the current contract by two months in order to allow more time for smaller providers to explore banding together in order to bid. DYS Space was willing to continue to provide the service until 31 March 2020 so there was a fixed deadline of 1 April 2020 to conclude the retender.
Currently, DYS Space had nine buildings in its portfolio with eight Youth and Community Centres (Barnstaple, Bideford, Exeter, Exmouth, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Tiverton, and Totnes) which were bases for open access youth work as well as being used as a base for targeted and outreach youth work. There was also a building in Dawlish to support its work with young people in mainstream schools who were at risk of permanent exclusion.
The Report outlined that young people faced increasingly complex challenges (for example, county lines, knife crime and sexual exploitation) but also that Government was considering new requirements for Local Authorities in terms of an offer that would contain both a universal and targeted element.
The Report proposed there was not fundamental change to the current model of youth service provision and listed a number of key components that any new provision should contain, highlighted in the final recommendation below. The successful provider(s) would be required to continue to operate out of the existing eight youth hubs (although this would be continuously reviewed against the needs of young people) and the Dawlish facility continued to be available. It was also expected there would be a (temporary) presence in Cranbook and Sherford until a permanent facility could be built and handed over to town councils.
The Report outlined the procurement timeline, highlighting the timetable was tight and did not allow for a ‘root and branch’ review of youth services. It was proposed this commenced when a provider was confirmed to inform the future development of the service. The Children’s Scrutiny Committee had indicated its willingness to work with commissioners on such a review.
A budget of £1.788m had been identified to support the tender and current intentions were to award the contract on a rising fixed-fee. It was also recommended the Council awarded a 5-year contract (on a 3 + 2 basis).
The Report and proposal had been informed by a range of officers and service areas, from Communities, Public Health and Economy Teams, as well as Children’s Services, Finance, Legal, Estates and Procurement colleagues as well as external stakeholders from the Health and Criminal Justice sectors. In addition, a workshop with Members of the Children’s Scrutiny Committee had been held in May 2019, the key points of that discussion being outlined at Appendix A. The Council’s Participation Team was facilitating focus group sessions with young people in each of the four localities plus engagement with Devon’s Members of Youth Parliament to ensure their views were included in the draft specification.
The Cabinet noted that a vibrant youth service made a positive contribution to prevention (through the universal offer) and early intervention (through outreach and targeted work). The approach suggested was consistent with the principles underpinning the development of the new Children and Young People’s Plan.
The Chief Officer’s Report contained an Impact Assessment which had been circulated for the attention of Members at this meeting, in order that as part of its determination of the next steps in the process the Cabinet might have full regard to the responsibilities placed upon it to exercise its Public Sector Equality Duty, under s149 of the Equality Act 2010.
The assessment highlighted there was a potential for impact on both youth service staff and service users due to a potential change in provider, for example the fear of losing a youth worker or a change in ‘culture’ around delivery. However, the expectation, should there be a change in provider, was a detailed transition plan during the mobilisation and implementation phase.
A key principle of the specification was that any future provider would have to work with a wide range of young people and have a commitment to understand both their needs and the contemporary issues affecting young people and furthermore demonstrate their ability to respond to any changes in local need. The assessment reported there were no unmanageable impacts that had been identified.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Chief Officer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Croad, SECONDED by Councillor Hart and
(a) that the Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community, Public Health, Transportation and Environmental Services be given delegated authority to launch an invitation to tender in accordance with recommendation (b) below for youth services in Devon from 1st April 2020 and subsequently to award a contract following a competitive bidding process; and
(b) that Cabinet agrees the invitation to tender reflects the requirements, budget and term as outlined below;
1.1 A universal offer based on open access via 8 youth hubs;
1.2 Outreach and targeted support for more vulnerable young people;
1.3 Advice, guidance and support to voluntary and community groups across the county;
1.4 Focussed support to young people at risk of permanent exclusion from mainstream education; and
1.5 Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (if eligibility criteria met)
2. The budget for the core service will be £1.788 million in 2020/21.
3. A term of 5 years (3+2)
[NB: The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and may also be available at: http://new.devon.gov.uk/impact/].
 A rising fixed fee for the first three years, and the final 2 years to be increased by RPI