THE Connexions youth service is to be scrapped after Cheshire West and Chester Council decided to take over its responsibilities from April 1.

The announcement comes just a couple of months after the authority decided in principle to award a one-year contract to Northwich-based provider Connexions Ltd – subject to a due diligence procedure.

However, following that procedure, the authority has now decided to take over management of the youth and information, advice and guidance services, currently provided by Connexions.

Cllr Mark Stocks, executive member education and children, said: “The due diligence procedure revealed uncertainty with regard to the level of the company’s liabilities.

“It has become obvious that resolution of these difficulties will not be possible in the time available to us.

“Accordingly, to protect the future of the services to young people and front-line staff we have taken the decision to assume management control.”

Cllr Stocks added: “The council will be managing these services for the next year during which time we will be considering the shape of future provision and consulting widely on this issue.”

The executive member confirmed members of Connexions operational staff would be transferred to the council under TUPE arrangements.

However, the authority has not revealed whether this will lead to redundancies at the company. As recently as last month, there was speculation about redundancies at Connexions following the decision by Cheshire East and Warrington councils to leave the company while Cheshire West and Chester Council was slashing its annual funding from £2.4m to about £1.5m.

But Cllr Stocks insisted: “Youth services across the borough will be maintained at the levels which were to be provided by Connexions.”