Councillor Halden gave the following update:
The Chair questioned how the effectiveness of the Development Board would be measured. Councillor Halden explained that in discussions with partners, the targets would be considered but success would currently be judged on the work of the Economic Vulnerability Task Force which would be focussing on protecting young people and their interests and livelihoods.
Councillor Akinbohun questioned what strategies were in place to help young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Councillor Halden highlighted his concerns for young people during the pandemic which were employment, housing and safety. A core duty of the Economic Vulnerability Task Force was to provide advice to young people and reach out to them for feedback from services such as Inspire and Head Start Housing. It was important to ensure that the advice given to young people was valuable and what could be done to change the advice where needed to ensure young people were able to benefit from the advice given. The apprenticeship levy would also be looked with a Postcode Apprenticeship Plan. He went on to say that a report from the Economic Vulnerability Task Force could be brought to Committee after the summer.
Councillor Muldowney felt that young people would be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and questioned whether there were funds to support the work within the PFH’s remit. Councillor Halden confirmed that the service had received some funding already where 600 laptops had been delivered for LAC and the service was helping young people whose homes were not Wi-Fi enabled. There was other funding that was currently focussed on managing infection rates through monitoring accounts and possible rises of infection rates. However, funding for young people and LAC was always protected and services would to be offered through partnerships. He went on to explain schemes such as Head Start Housing helped to save the Council from placing young people in out of borough placements and enabled the Council to effectively support young people. There was some funding from central government and the Council had a robust system.