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Agenda item

DurhamWorks Programme

(i)       Joint Report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships and the Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services.

(ii)      Presentation by the Strategic Manager, Progression and Learning, Children and Young People’s Services.


The Chairman introduced the Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning, Linda Baileywho was in attendance to give an update as regards the DurhamWorks Programme (for copy see file of minutes).


The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning reminded the Committee of the previous updates given in relation to the DurhamWorks Programme and noted that there had been good progress made, though still with some challenges to overcome.


Members noted the figures in terms of the funding for DurhamWorks, Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) funding, European Social Fund (ESF) and Durham County Council (DCC) match funding and the targeting of those aged 18-24, were not in education, employment or training (NEET) and that the programme would operate from April 2016 through to July 2018.  It was explained there were a number of delivery partners and sub-contractors and that an element was to try to stimulate demand within businesses to create opportunities for those young people.


The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning explained the outputs relating to DurhamWorks, and noted areas that were progressing well and areas for further work. 

It was highlighted that there were less female participants, though a new delivery partner in terms of looking to help teen parents may help to encourage more uptake by females.  She highlighted that the figure did not include those that would have started courses that would have enrolled in September 2017.  Members noted it would be a challenge to be able to have 5,800 young people in the programme before July 2018, and also it would be difficult to be able to separate out between DurhamWorks and other interventions.


The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning referred Members to statistics relating to: NEETs and “not knowns”; those participating in learning from vulnerable groups aged 16 and over; unemployment in 20-24 year olds; and the claimant count for those aged 18-24.  Members noted performance in terms of finance and also learned as regards marketing and communications, with the Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning thanking Members who had helped in promoting DurhamWorks within their areas.


The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning explained as regards the initial findings so far in terms of the evaluation of the DurhamWorks programme, with areas highlighted as being successful including: wraparound support; vulnerable groups were well represented and making positive progressions; and delivery partners doing good work with young people.  It was also highlighted that focus should be on improving communication and partnership working, especially with the “older” young people who were not as keen to engage in activities.


The Chairman thanked the Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning and asked Members for their questions.


Councillor P Jopling noted DurhamWorks was a very good programme and asked how we attempted to engage with the “not knowns”.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted that the positive aspect was that the percentage of “not knowns” was around 2% and this was the lowest it had ever been.  It was added that there were plans to visit North Tyneside Council to speak to them as regards successes they had in this area and the employment of more engagement officers should also help.  Members noted that youth workers and other professionals can often engage with those young people better and partners were encouraged to innovate and try new ideas, linking with others such as the Area Action Partnerships (AAPs).


Councillor L Maddison noted the large sums invested in DurhamWorks and asked how outcomes would be measured.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted that any participant would have wraparound provision and that they would be kept in touch with, though few had finished the DurhamWorks programme.  It was added that even at the point the young person had finished their programme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continued to measure for a period of six months looking at Pay as you Earn (PAYE) information or Further Education (FE) records.


Councillor J Atkinson asked similarly whether successes and failures that had been identified were fed back through to ensure what did not work was stopped and what did work was encouraged.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted that when clearly not working those elements would be looked at, for example the “older” young people were not keen on repeated employability training, and in terms of building on successes, the excellent work helping vulnerable groups was encouraging.  It was added that this information was captured within the evaluation process. 

Members noted that there were difficulties in modelling when looking at issues such as half of the places generated via the Business Advisors were not taken up by DurhamWorks clients, however it was important to have those places filled.  It was added that the quarterly evaluations could be shared for Members’ information.


Councillor E Scott welcomed the work with vulnerable groups and asked as regards New Employment Zones.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted that Business Advisors within the Regeneration and Local Services directorate, and Business Durham, worked with businesses to create opportunities for young people and to also explain to employers the benefit they would receive from taking on an apprentice.  It was added that while it was good that 50% of the opportunities generated went to DurhamWorks clients it was hoped for more.


The Employability Manager, John Tindale explained that while the aim was to fill an opportunity with a DurhamWorks client, however, if this was not possible it was preferable to fill the place with someone that could help benefit that business.


Councillor E Adam noted a lot of positive information relating to DurhamWorks, though was disappointed in terms of the inactive participants, adding that he would be interested to have a breakdown of the 1,592 in work, training or education in August 2017, to make it more meaningful for Members.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted the reporting was as per DWP categories, with the majority of those being apprenticeships and employment.


Councillor P Howell noted an excellent report and added that in terms of the “not knowns”, it would be useful to have numbers as well as percentages to be able to understand the scale of the issue.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted this and would look to circulate that information.


Councillor D Hall noted the tracking of the DurhamWorks clients, including the period of 6 months after via the DWP but asked what happened after in terms of learning from the DurhamWorks programme.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning explained that the programme would end 18 July 2017 and the DWP would track progression 6 months after that.  It was noted that there was an opportunity to bid for some EU funding that may allow for some successful activities to continue, from July 2018 up to 2021.  Members noted that such a bid may not be successful, and would comprise £4.8 million and £3 million match funding and therefore would not be of the scale of the DurhamWorks programme.  She added that if a bid was successful it may need to focus on what groups had the most need and indeed not all DurhamWorks programme may come to an end, with some elements of sustainability having been built in.  It was added there may be other EU funding opportunities for those over 18 years of age, and also for those aged 15-18.  It was noted that as the Authority had a statutory duty in terms of that agenda it linked in well.


Councillor J Clare noted he welcomed the positive impact for vulnerable young people, the one-to-one support and agreed that repeated employability courses were of very limited use.  He also welcomed any work that would look to engage with Year 11 pupils, at age 15 and felt this would be of great benefit.  He added that his worry in terms of the successes of the programme was the danger that they would stop as soon as funding disappeared.  He concluded by noting that the target of 5,800 may not be met and asked if there was any potential for clawback in terms of funding provided. 

The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning explained that a 15% tolerance had been factored into the programme, and the modelling and managing of the programme had been very tight.


Councillor R Ormerod echoed the comments of several Members in noting that percentages and the actual numbers involved were both useful for Members to understand the issues.


Councillor P Jopling added that in the cases where companies or partners were underperforming, how long were they allowed to continue operating.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted it was broadly speaking, 3 months with terms set out within the relevant Service Level Agreements.


Mr T Batson congratulated the Officers in relation to the huge amount of work that had been undertaken in relation to DurhamWorks and asked whether there was any segregation seen in terms of urban and rural communities.  The Strategic Manager - Progression and Learning noted that performance data was mapped geographically and there was commissioning in terms of rural activities though noted there was often a difficulty for potential partners to gather the critical mass for some activities.  It was added that wraparound support was good for both urban and rural areas, good for those 16-18, more challenging for those aged 18-24.  The Strategic Manager – Progression and Learning confirmed that a map is available which could be shared with members showing participation on a geographical basis.




(i)           That the report be noted.

(ii)          That the Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee receive a further  progress report on the delivery of the Durhamworks Programme at a future meeting of the Committee.


Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714