We look forward to following closely the progress of the ‘cooperative’ Lambeth council’s commitment to young people taking charge of certain services within the Borough. As a first step a meeting was held on July 5 to explore the creation of a Young Lambeth Cooperative with Leader of the Council, Steve Reed opening the event. At this stage the process is being facilitated by Bill Badham and Alex Farrow on behalf of Public Services Mutuals.
According to the report drawn up by Alex, which can be read in its entirety here,
The event and process is truly innovative and a first in the UK. From next year, a new cooperative organisation, with young people as its members, will take control of a multi-million pound budget and be legally responsible for the commissioning and delivery of children and youth services in the borough.
In trying to get a grip on this development with all its seduction, a number of initial questions emerge.
- What was the process through which the 70 young people attending emerged?
- Were any youth or play workers involved in the dialogue at this stage?
- How does the proposed multi-million pound budget compare with the funds previously available? In March 2012 the Council agreed to cut six million pounds over the next three years from youth services. These cuts are vigorously opposed by Lambeth Save Our Services.
We’ll do some more research, but any information would be most welcome. This first concrete step towards the mutualisation of these public services in a climate of cuts, yet with young people purportedly at the helm of affairs, deserves our most serious, critical attention.