[John Robertson in the Chair] — Services for Young People

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 22nd March 2012.

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Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Chair, Education Committee 2:30 pm, 22nd March 2012

I agree with the Minister, and that is exciting and interesting. My note of caution is that there must be many positive services, including youth services, which would struggle to collect the evidence, dissociated from all the other impacts and influences on young people’s lives, to prove that they were delivering. Perhaps that is why, in many cases, we might want to have the payment by results managed and triggered at a higher level, with those people making a discretionary decision. When they see great work—when they see it they can recognise it—they will realise that it is offering value for money. They could take things that did not have an individual evidence base, yet would none the less continue to be commissioned. A dangerous and perhaps self-interested parallel with my previous life as a publisher is an advertiser who places an advert for £1,000 and immediately receives £2,000 back in directly attributable profit on sales. He may spend the rest of his career thinking that advertising is just about getting money back immediately without any other elements to it, which would be a mistake. Life is more complicated than that, and the danger of finding such things as the work in Peterborough, or, possibly, the initiatives mentioned by the Minister, is that we are looking for everything to be able to justify itself on a payments by results basis. Perhaps councils, or other bodies at a higher level, should commission without having to expect that from each initiative in their portfolio.