Decision details

CE S187 Universal Youth Services Centre Based (locality), Outreach and Detached Youth Programmes

Decision Maker: Cabinet Procurement and Insourcing Committee

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No




1.  To agree the procurement of up to 11 individual  contracts for youth provision that are delivered through centre based (locality), outreach, peripatetic or detached youth work arrangements. Each contract will run for a period of 3 years from 1st November 2024 with an option to extend for 2 years in yearly increments. The maximum budget for the services over five (5) years will be £3.5m (£700,000 p.a.).


2.  To agree to the extension of 13 existing Connecting Young Hackney, Lot 1 contracts for a maximum period of seven (7) months until the end of October 2024 at a maximum cost of £545K.


Reason(s) For Decision


5.1  The Council’s universal youth provision is currently delivered under a mixed economy of inhouse, and externally commissioned services from a number of Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) organisations. This procurement seeks to contract with a range of providers to continue to complement the in-house offer and secure a comprehensive eco-system of support and opportunity for young people.


5.2  The Connecting Young Hackney Framework was the previous vehicle used to  provide a range of universal youth work programmes for children and young people aged 6-19 (and up to 25 for young people with SEND). The vehicle previously comprised two ‘Lots’; ‘Lot 1’ for Programmes delivered year round to improve the overall quality of life for children and young people in Hackney, and ‘Lot 2’ which was for time limited project based activities that respond to identified local needs. The Connecting Young Hackney Framework expired on 31st October 2020 and since then the contracts for Lot 1 have been individually extended until 31st March 2024 to allow for the completion of the review of Young Hackney and the previous Early Help Review (both of which inform the context for this procurement).


5.3  This report seeks approval for the extension of  seven months for the current individual contracts for Lot 1 in order to ensure continuity of service whilst the procurement process is completed See Appendix 3.


5.4  Following the decision not to extend the Lot 2 contracts beyond the end of October 2020 the monetary value of the procurement programme was converted to a new annual grants programme for children and young people to respond to the changing Hackney landscape, emerging needs, and to encourage engagement with smaller youth organisations. In its first year this programme made 28 grants, the majority of which went to smaller organisations and exceeded the expected total number of beneficiaries.


5.5  The learning from the previous procurement, Council grants programme, Early Help Review, Hackney Young Futures Commission and Review of the Young Hackney Service (conducted Summer 2023) have informed the business case and specification for this procurement. The change of age group for this procurement reflects the recommendations of the independent review of Young Hackney and the findings of the Young Futures Commission. The Young Hackney Review recommends focusing provision on the older age group (10-19) as the area currently with the greatest unmet need. The review also recommends ensuring young people are involved in the design, development and delivery of activities that help to attract and retain young people who are 14 years and older, inclusive of youth leadership, volunteering and social action. In arriving at this recommendation the review included a range of consultations and feedback from children, young people and families, professionals, and members of the wider Hackney community. The review also sought best practice examples from other councils and research about what works.


5.6  Hackney Young Futures [HYFC] was set up as an independent commission of the Council, and delivered the largest ever consultation exercise with young people in Hackney aged between 10 and 25, engaging with 2,400 young people. Contained within the recommendations is an ask for increased access opportunities to places, spaces and activities through the ‘lost hours’ between 3-7pm. The commission specifically focuses on the needs of adolescents and its findings inform the service specification for this procurement which will prioritise the development of ‘Skills for Independent Adulthood’.


5.7  It is noted that whilst the CYP grants programme has been successful in working with a greater number of small organisations to provide increased access to positive activities, that bids were not received for activities that meet the specific needs of young people at risk of offending and exploitation. Hackney data reported to the Youth Justice Board continues to evidence that the majority of offences are committed by children aged 15-17 years. This reinforces the need for diversionary opportunities, within safe travelling distance, that meet the interests of adolescents and enable them to develop knowledge and skills around how they can manage risk, make informed choices and stay safe.


5.8  Since 2019 the Council has continued to review and redesign its early help offer to ensure its accessibility and impact. Hackney Council believes that some of the most important and valuable work that is currently provided to its children, young people and their families is what is known as ‘early help’ - an offer of universal and targeted support and opportunities designed to help children and young people have the best possible start in life.  Effective early help at critical points in a child or young person’s life can significantly improve both their immediate situation and their overall life chances. Youth work is an important component of the continuum of support which encourages learning and personal and social development; developing confidence, agency, self-regulation, consideration, aspiration and other personal assets that support future success.


5.9  One of the key findings of the Early Help Review has been the need to ensure that Early Help is organised on a locality basis so families can access support in a space that they find comfortable. Locality based working was similarly supported through the independent review of the Young Hackney Service. Organising the Services commissioned on a locality basis and within cultural specific communities will enable relationships to be formed across organisational boundaries to better support families; providing an informal route for residents and partners to learn more about what help is available and to ensure that Universal Services are effectively sign-posted.


5.10  Whilst focused primarily on the delivery of open access youth work, universal youth provision is often a key point of access for families into further support and wider early help services. In support of our ambition for the transformation of services on a locality basis, the commissioning process has involved the analysis of “cold spots” of provision and beneficiary groups that were not reached through the previous procurement. The location of the existing four Young Hackney Hubs in relation to the Primary Care Network (PCN) neighbourhoods and Child and Family Hubs has been reviewed, so that this procurement complements the existing geography (as far as is practicable).


5.11  Through the proposed network of youth providers it is aimed that children, young people and their families will be able to participate in high quality youth services and be signposted to targeted early help without stigma. An expectation will be placed on providers to work collaboratively with the wider network of statutory and voluntary provision in their locality to meet the needs of children and young people. Whilst young people will continue to be encouraged to travel and access youth provision across the borough the following neighbourhoods will be prioritised to complement existing provision and address local need:


- Shoreditch Park Neighbourhood

-Well Street Community Neighbourhood

-Springfield Park Neighbourhood

-Hackney Downs Neighbourhood


5.16   The above is not meant to be a checklist of what youth work should deliver and providers should evidence that their offer is shaped with young people through the youth work process so that it responds to their lived experience and presenting needs, concerns and interests. Involving young people in leading their own youth work experience is essential, since adults do not always understand young people’s concerns and the learning experience lessened. This procurement will ensure that Youth participation will be a core component of delivery.


Contracts required



Service Category


No. of LOTS

Core centre based/ detached/ outreach youth work


Culturally Specific


Specialist SEND provision




Volumes and costing data which informed the development of the Contract Lots detailed above are provided in Exempt Appendix 1


Preferred Option


5.26  Appointment of Universal Youth Service providers through a competitive procurement process to continue the mixed economy delivery model of inhouse, and externally commissioned services.


  This option will maintain the existing model of service provision whilst optimising the opportunities for engaging with the voluntary sector in the delivery of a variety of services, and encouraging partnership working and consortium bids from smaller organisations. There will be scope for providers to bid to deliver programmes that maintain a unified focus on high quality youth work practice that delivers a range of measurable positive outcomes for young people, whilst improving access across the borough.


5.27  The Council will give providers an opportunity to bid for services  based on the following criteria:


5.27.1 Number/duration of weekly sessions

  It is expected that a maximum of 4 providers will provide youth work programmes for a minimum of 3 days per week (or 6 sessions) in the key locations identified, and inclusive of 8 weeks holiday provision per annum. It is also expected that 3 detached outreach/arts/ sports specialist providers will provide a year round offer. The tender will cost delivery according to the number of sessions delivered and number of children and young people served. Minimum numbers of providers have been identified to address key localities and the needs of key target groups.


  See Exempt Appendix 1 for more detailed costs and volumes of service delivery. The LOTs will account for the categories covered in paragraphs 5.31 to 5.33 below.


5.27.2 National Youth Agency Themes

·  Arts, Culture and Heritage

·  Identity and Belonging

·  Leadership,Civic engagement and participation

·  Economic and Financial wellbeing

·  Creativity and fun

·  Global citizenship

·  Skills development

·  The environment and sustainable development

·  Healthy and safe relationships

·  Health and wellbeing.


5.27.3 Provision that targets inequalities, including structural and systemic racism, and improves accessibility for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities and from LGBTQi+ communities


5.27.4 Neighbourhoods- ‘Cold Spots’ identified

Shoreditch Park Neighbourhood

Well Street Community Neighbourhood

Springfield Park Neighbourhood

Hackney Downs Neighbourhood


5.27.5 Practice principles

Youth work is a deliberative educational approach, with its own pedagogy and professional base, which supports the personal and social development of young people through non-formal education. It is delivered under the principles of equal access and voluntary engagement. All commissioned providers will be expected to work to youth work methodology underpinned by an understanding of how young people develop during adolescence, reflective practice and peer education. The ability to establish boundaries and maintain trusted relationships with young people, address challenging behaviour and de-escalate conflict will be essential to all delivery.


Universal youth work meets the need for children and young people to socialise in a safe and secure environment and should facilitate access for vulnerable young people to early intervention and support. The importance of safeguarding children and young people and providing a safe environment for young people is central to practice. This procurement will expect Providers to evidence organisational safeguarding policy and practice which aligns with Working Together and reflects intra familial and extra familial risk. Specifically providers will be expected to be aware of Contextual Safeguarding approaches and be willing to work with partners to create safety within peer groups and localities. We will expect all commissioned youth providers to continue to develop a clear understanding of the risks and harms children and young people may face in the community and how Hackney are developing systems to screen, assess and respond to extra-familial harm.


  Hackney Children and Education Services expect our commissioned providers to share and work to the same practice principles, and thus be committed to eradicating systemic racism, discrimination, injustice; making anti-racism a foundation of our collective practice. We will expect all commissioned providers to join us in creating a culture of critically reflective practice and share a mutual expectation that every member of staff takes responsibility for their own learning and development with respect to anti-racist, anti-oppressive practice -  being a voice and force for change, for every child and family that we work for and with.


5.28  Alternative Options (Considered and Rejected)


  Refer to Exempt Appendix 2 - for a more in depth analysis on Insourcing Considerations.





Do Nothing-


1.This is not a viable option.There is a statutory duty to secure educational, recreational and leisure time activities, and sufficient facilities for such activities (Section 507B of the Education and Inspections Act), this includes the current suite of externally commissioned Universal Youth provision.




Manage and deliver the services in house.

(refer to insourcing Exempt  Appendix 2)

1.Would allow maximum control for the Council


2. In line with the Council’s ambition to insource services where practical and appropriate

Fails to make use of the particular capacity and expertise available from the local voluntary and community sector in Hackney


2. Lost opportunity to benefit from the  innovation and responsiveness of established local providers


3. Fails to maximise the potential for added social value that could be achieved through a competitive procurement process.


4.The Council does not have the physical assets (youth club buildings, youth bus) required to deliver this type of youth provision and would therefore require additional time and budget to establish these under this option.


5.Would require more capacity for management oversight of the day to day delivery of the service in addition to the extra operational staff that would be required.

Secure all the

functions via a Framework or Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS)


Flexibility to award further contracts during the delivery period as required.


2.Under a DPS additional providers could be added during the contract period

1.Additional call-offs are unlikely to be required once the initial round of contracts has been awarded


2.Participating in a framework is an administrative burden for providers and there is no guarantee of a contract for providers who have completed the vetting process to join the framework.


3.Call offs would always involve mini competitive tenders which are labour intensive for commissioners.


4. There is  a risk that small/ medium local providers could be excluded because they lack the capacity for regular bidding processes.

One Contract with a single supplier


1.Potential to achieve economies of scale

2.Minimises contract management and reporting requirements    

1.Excludes smaller and medium sized organisations

2.Fails to make use

 of the diverse experience and expertise of existing local providers, or to meet the needs of Hackney’s diverse communities

3.Likely to result in an overall loss of capacity from the local community and voluntary sector organisations currently active in this area





Publication date: 06/02/2024

Date of decision: 05/02/2024

Decided at meeting: 05/02/2024 - Cabinet Procurement and Insourcing Committee

Accompanying Documents: