It’s all happening in Haringey as young people question the Council’s confusion

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To keep up with the campaign to Save Haringey Youth Services read its latest informative Public Statement.

We can’t resist quoting in full its summary of a number of conversations this last week between young people and the Council.

As everyone is aware we have had 3 meetings this week where asked Cllr Jason Arthur, Director John Abbey,Cllr Ann Waters and Assistant Director what their plans were. It went something like this…

Us“Are you closing down Bruce Grove Youth Centre?”
Them on Monday: “Nothing has been decided, we have to make £70m cuts, blame the Tories.”
 Us: “Are you closing down Bruce Grove Youth Centre?”
Them by Wednesday: “Bruce Grove is fantastic. It is tremendous. It works really well. It is staying open!”
 Us: “So you’re not closing Bruce Grove Youth Centre?”
 Them: “ No, that was just a Twitter rumour *shady smile*. Bruce Grove is fantastic. It is tremendous. It works really well.”
Us“That is not what you said on your website. Anyway, so you’re not cutting the budget.”
Them: “Yes we are cutting the budget”
Us“By how much?”
Them“That has not been decided yet”
Us: “But on your website it says £2.1m that is the whole youth service budget”
Them“No it is not”
Us: “Yes it is, we’ve seen it on the what do you know website”
Them :“Well check that and get back to you”
Us“Eh? Ok, what are your plans for it then? Is it staying the way it is?”
Them“No, we are looking at ways to do it differently”
Us“But why if it is fantastic, tremendous and working really well?”
Them“That has not been decided yet”
Us: “Eh? But you said it was fantastic. So you have no idea what you are going to do with it?”
Them“Yes we do, we are looking at ways to do it differently”
Us“But why if it is fantastic, tremendous and working really well?”
Them“We want you to tell us how to do it differently”
Us“We don’t want it done differently, we agree with you, it’s fantastic, tremendous and works really well”
Them“Well we have to look at how to improve it”
Us“Cutting its money and sacking the youth workers definitely won’t improve it”
Them“We have to make savings”
Us“Ok, cut the interim head of youth service, he is a £460 a day consultant, that is £360,000 for 3 years saved there.”
Them“We need consultants”
Them: “It’s hard to find people who want to work in London”
Us“Huh? There are people on my estate looking for work”.
Them“Consultants really care about the borough”
Us“So do our youth workers but you’re sacking them and they are cheaper”
Them“We’re not sacking them”
Us“So you’re keeping them?”
Them“That has not been decided yet”
Us: “So who will run the youth centre if the youth workers are sacked”
Them“We could call in partners, or ask another organisation to run it”
Us“So you are sacking them”
Them“That has not been decided yet”
Us“We don’t want another organisation. We also definitely do not want Spurs!”
Them“Maybe we can set it up as a company and young people can raise the money and run it”
Us“No, that is a silly idea we have enough problems, you should be providing us help. We are not doing that”
Them“It was just an idea, but nothing has been decided yet”
Us: “Well that was a silly idea, a really silly idea. Are you paid £460 a day to say silly things? So when are you deciding?”
Them“It is ongoing, we are listening to you”
Us“Ok, well, listen to us when we say we want nothing to change”
Them: “We have to look at how to do things differently”
Us“But why if it is fantastic, tremendous and working really well?”
Them“Because we have to make savings”
Us“But we just saved you money”
Us“Don’t pay the interim head of youth service consultant stupid money like £460 a day if you’re broke!”
Them“We are definitely keeping Bruce Grove Youth Centre open!”
Us“Yes, so you keep saying, but you’re not saying how, so it means nothing”
Them“That has not been decided yet”
Us“So you won’t cut until you decide”
Them: “No we decide after cut”
Us“This is not making any sense”
Them“Well don’t believe everything you read in the papers, they dont tell the truth.”
Us“Neither does your website or corporate plan!”



  1. I was at tate meeting the Council Officers and Councillors are clueless. They’re now talking about putting a strategy together in February!

  2. This is fantastic. And quite funny. (Though the outcome might not be).

    It does seem to be further “supporting evidence” for the comment – and link to my own web site – I made on a previous post here about the cuts.

    While the authority is planning to cut a youth service it is paying a consultant (according to the young people) £450.00 per day. All this rhetoric about “we have to make cuts because the grant is being cut” misses the main area where savings can be made in local authorities. Incompetent management and absurdly over-paid external consultants as well as corporate suppliers who over-charge. I tried to check on the £450.00 reported fee for the interim head of youth services in Haringey. I couldn’t check that but on the Community Care magazine jobs board I found an advert for the Interim Director of Children’s services somewhere paying £650.00 to £750.00 per day. The post is offered for 6-9 months. That is up to £106,000.00 for the nine months. This appears not to be unusual.

    Who would want to charge that amount of money for running a youth service of childrens’ service? Personally, I can’t imagine that they can be people who might “really care about the borough”.

    I would also guess that in most cases it will be a case of the revolving-door. The successful applicant will recently have left similar public sector employment. They may even be enjoying a redundancy package, leaving settlement package or pension pot from that previous employment. Quite possibly use of interims has some kind of financial logic for local authorities. (The authority hiring an interim manager of 9 months is clearly not in a hurry to fill a permanent position). But then what is lacking is political will from the centre to stop this gravy train. Of course they won’t because this gravy train suits members of all political classes very well.

    As I said in my original linked post I’d rather the Trade Unions had the bottle to tackle this issue rather than just pressing re-play on the traditional narrative about “Tory cuts”.

    And just to remind people that New Labour is no different from the other lot here is just one example. An IT consultancy located near to me charges NHS Trusts large amounts (I would assume) to provide software which analysis patient satisfaction surveys. This was all froth introduced by the last Labour government who realised that schemes to make people feel valued were far cheaper than changes which actually valued people. One of the directors of the company is someone who was a minister in that government.

  3. At too many local authorities now all the staff and senior management teams are on contract, being paid consultancy rates, which ensures they have no long term commitment to public/children’s services. It is people, both young, old and lower level staff who suffer. The scandal of this pay regime, which sees agency staff employed for several years, paid more than actual LA staff, even when they have no proper qualifications and experience in the field they are working in – i.e.they arrive, sometimes from another country, or another LA (a friends network) with no relevant experience and get the job because they will take less, if at lower levels of staff, so more can be paid for managers being paid lots more – and this is a problem. How such a system survives when there is great unemployment and austerity measures is a mystery to me and everyone else. One which it seems no highly paid consultant is going to solve. How many LA’s are cutting staff, but employing agency staff who are being paid more? That is the research that needs to be done in the boroughs that are hardest pressed. Only then will the truth be out!

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