Jobs at risk as Lincolnshire County Council considers scrapping education support service

Fifty jobs are potentially under threat from Lincolnshire County Council’s plans to replace its careers guidance and educational welfare service with a website.

The council has launched a consultation proposing to end its Education Support Service by September 2016.

The service would be replaced by a website signposting vulnerable teenagers to external agencies such as the National Careers Service and Jobcentre Plus.

Council officials have confirmed that the consultation affects 52 employees, although two members of staff have since found alternative employment.

Councillor Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “The council has had to find savings of £42 million in 2016-17 and we have had to look at reductions in all services that are non-statutory while protecting essential frontline services.

“We are consulting with staff about proposals to stop non-statutory traded services to schools for education welfare and careers guidance.

“There is a duty on schools to support vulnerable pupils and they can buy in extra services from providers as they see necessary.

“Schools already provide impartial careers guidance and advice to young people and in addition we propose providing information pages on our website signposting students where to get extra support.”

‘Devastating consequences’

Public service union Unison said that the “crude” plans made no sense.

Lincolnshire County Assistant Branch Secretary of Unison, Gavyn Graham, said: “Our members are concerned by the short and long term impact of these cuts on the young people they support.

“They fear that potential safeguarding alerts will be missed as more often than not they are a first point of contact for young people and that trust built up over time cannot be replicated by a website.

“The council has not researched the long term social and economic consequences of their plans on the young people these services currently cover, or on other parts of the council such as social services who will have to deal with the potential consequences of this devastation through increased referrals.

“Our members fear that Lincolnshire’s young people will have their future taken away from them before they have begun.”