Public Interest Lawyers Ltd (PIL) is representing a resident of North Somerset as he seeks to challenge the local Council’s decision to adopt budget cuts that will see a proposed 72% reduction in the funds made available to Youth Services in the area between 2011/12 and 2014/15. Papers were lodged yesterday at the High Court in London requesting a judicial review of the decision.
As a result of these cuts, North Somerset Council has identified six youth groups that will cease to operate. Remaining services will see dramatic budget reductions and reconfiguration, with ‘Local Commissioning Networks’ being asked to fill gaps left by a removal of Council provided services. It is unclear how these new services will function and what the new form of service will be. It is also not clear how long these alternative measures will remain in place with the budget being reduced year on year.
The Claimant argues that the decision to adopt the new budget was not informed by an appropriate level of consultation with Youth Service users, nor with due regard to the ‘protected characteristics’ of service users as is required by the Equality Act 2010.