Winner of ‘Best Public/Private Partnership’ in the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Awards 2014, Prospects is improving outcomes and transforming services
Gloucestershire CC commissioned Prospects Services in 2008 to create a single young people’s service in the county.
This was the start of a unique partnership that has delivered considerable cost savings, improved outcomes and transformed services for vulnerable young people.
Through the partnership, innovative integrated teams of social workers, youth offending officers, youth workers, family support officers and health and careers specialists work with police and probation officers to support about 6,000 vulnerable young people in the county, including children in care, young parents and young offenders.
Prospects employs 60% of staff in the service and the remaining 40% are county council employees, with managers operating seamlessly across both organisations.
Critical to the success of the partnership is the integration of senior staff into the council’s operational and strategic structures, supporting the council to develop and deliver their objectives and critically high-profile change programmes. As the director of youth support, I work with the director of children’s services, and am in a team of directors overseeing children and young people’s services.
In 2010 we worked together to achieve savings of over £3.6m for that year, redesigned the service, transferred parts of the youth service to the community and extended our care leaver service to include children in care aged 16 plus.
Young people report high satisfaction with the service with more than 90% saying it made a positive difference to their lives. In addition, 93% reduced their drug and alcohol consumption as a result of working with the youth support team.
Since the partnership began, there has been a 47% reduction in young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time, due to the team’s youth crime prevention work.
In June, the service won the award for best public/private partnership at the 2014 LGC Awards.
LGC said: “The judges were impressed with this brave, unique and authentic partnership. The council has a clear strategy of targeted integrated services for vulnerable young people and saw the potential of developing a long-term partnership with the private sector to deliver this service. Both partners were aware of the high risks associated with this approach but managed them well. The results are impressive, delivering significant cost savings and improved outcomes for young people.”
Gloucestershire’s Paul McLain (Con) added: “It was a truly radical step to go into partnership with Prospects. Together we have been breaking new ground.”
Alison Williams, director of youth support, Prospects