Anger Over Wrexham Youth Support Service Rap

AN education watchdog report criticising youth support services in a North Wales county has angered council bosses.

According to Estyn, parts of Wrexham youth support services cannot make decisions, are poor value for money and do not work well together.

But Wrexham council have complained, claiming the report failed to paint an accurate picture and there were plenty of positives in the report.

Leaders and managers of youth services came in for a lion’s share of the criticisms, scoring the second lowest mark possible in certain categories.

The report, conducted in November last year, concerned the area’s Children and Young People’s Framework Partnership (CYPFP) and the provision for 14 to 19-year-olds in the area.

Estyn was also critical of the youth support service’s lack of action in improving shortcomings, noting that it had “not taken action on all the recommendations made by Estyn in the inspection in 2003” and other external reviews.

Work was also needed on how the authority improves its youth services.

A report said: “The CYPFP does not have an overview of the quality of youth support services, and does not have a clear process to set targets to make improvements”.

Staff training also came under fire in the report.

It recommended the CYPFP identified priorities, analysed the performance and cost-effectiveness of sixth form provision, and set itself clear targets to monitor the quality and impact of youth support.

The chairman of the Framework Partnership for Children and Young People, which oversees joint working, Terry Garner, said: “It is pleasing to see that the inspection team has identified a wide range of good practice.

“Even though recent changes to partnership arrangements have yet to have full impact, the partnership is well placed to work on behalf of children and young children.

“We will obviously reflect on the views set out in the joint inspection but it is clear that the trial of this new inspection framework has presented difficulties for the inspection team.’’

Mr Garner added: “Some of the comments received are completely at odds with other recent inspections and with the council’s top ‘Excellence Wales’ award received just a few weeks ago.”

He said CYPFP would produce an action plan in response to the inspection.

Local AM Lesley Griffiths said she was concerned for youth support services in Wrexham after reading the report.