The Redditch and Alcester Standard has a nice local piece on cuts to youth services where the council have decided to sell off a building that houses a youth club.
The article nicely poses the question of cost cutting versus the unintended effects of those cuts. Councillor Jane Potter is quoted as saying, “I welcome the fact we are planning to spend our limited resources more effectively by focusing on services for young people rather than buildings to achieve better outcomes.”
But Charlotte Toomer, chair of Redditch Student Council, said the decision was wrong and would force young people with nowhere else to go out onto the streets.
“We haven’t been listened to. They are forever moaning about young people on the streets but by doing this the situation is going to get worse. Taking the youth house away will lead to more kids on the streets and more crime,” she said.
The question is whether the young people will in fact use the other facilities and so see no loss of service or whether as Toomer says, things will get worse.
My guess is that cuts that are driven by balance sheets will, in the end lead to more costs in the long run. I don’t know if anyone stopped to ask the users of the centre themselves what they wanted or needed to improve the service. I’d bet they would have some pretty good ideas of how to improve the service and cut costs as a consequence.
If only users of a service got listened to.