Youth service threat

A REHABILITATION service for young offenders in Wigan is facing an uncertain future after staff were informed of impending job cuts.

Wigan’s Youth Offending Team works to prevent children and young people from committing crime across the borough.

But the council service, which is run in partnership with social services, police, and probation service, is facing drastic changes as spending cuts begin to bite.

Across the authority, town hall chiefs are having to chop spending by £47m, with up to 820 jobs under threat.

The concerned son of one long-serving team member, who wished to remain anonymous, today expressed anger that staff as well as youngsters receiving help from the Youth Offending Team would be affected. He said: “The valuable and talented members of the Wigan Youth Offenders Team have been given notice of impending job losses. This will be a terrible loss for the Wigan and Leigh community.

“The core job of the Wigan Youth Offending Team is to work with those likely to offend or who have offended.

“But often their duties go much further. Regularly the team deal directly with families in their homes, providing a direct link to those parents or children that desperately need help.

“Does the government realise these choices have such drastic impact on the lives of the hard-working types?

“Do they really understand how it will affect not just people who are losing their jobs, but those families who rely so heavily upon them? Without this support these families will have nobody to turn to.”

The team provides support courses for parents, bail supervision, works with community groups to divert young people from offending, and advises the courts on sentencing.

Wigan Council declined to comment on specific job losses but Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Nick Hudson said: “Wigan Council is undertaking a process of cost-cutting measures to meet government targets for budget reductions.

“Part of this process involves reducing the number of staff working for the council.”