A career postcode lottery

We have just published a new paper entitled A career postcode lottery? Local authority provision of youth and career support following the 2011 Education Act. We worked on it with Unison who represent staff in local authorities.

The paper seeks to trace the extent of the cuts on career and youth support within local authorities. All in all it paints a fairly grim picture. Our findings made be think more about the way that recent policy in this area and others have erroded the power of local democracy to influence the lives of citizens. This isn’t just the result of the current Government, but seems to have intensified under them.

In the area of careers work this is resulting in a situation where more and more provision is accountable to either unelected groups like LEPs, directly to central government or else in the hands of individual head teachers. The idea of local government having some power and resources to influence the kind of provision that people get in the locality has gradually fallen away. This frequently leaves local authorities in the position of underpinning the failures of the wider education and employment system with whatever resources they can scrape together for careers provision. In recent years this has been less and less provision for less and less people.

Anyway the details of the research are as follows.

Langley, E., Hooley, T., Bertuchi, D. (2014). A career postcode lottery? Local authority provision of youth and career support following the 2011 Education Act. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.

Since the election of the Coalition Government, England has seen a major change in the delivery of career support for young people. Cuts in funding for Connexions, Aimhigher and Education Business Partnerships have been accompanied by a shift in statutory responsibility from local authorities (LAs) to schools. Such policy has been criticised by a wide range of stakeholders and subjected to some scrutiny. This study focuses attention on the experiences of LAs and their staff in dealing with these changes. The aim was to explore the current scale and nature of LA careers activities with a view to providing a picture of LA responses to the policy changes. The report explores several themes: the resourcing of career and youth support, the provision of universal career support, and how targeted services have been affected. It also discusses the implications of the changes on specific groups such as careers professionals and young people, and suggests ways forward.

The full report can be downloaded from UDORA.


  1. This is a really valuable analysis of the dire situation that exists following continual cuts and policy changes to careers education and guidance. I see the results in my day to day work. Thanks for bringing this excellent research to our attention.

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