Bristol’s teenage pregnancy rate in 1998 – 51 per 1,000
Bristol’s teenage pregnancy rate in 2007 – 51 per 1,000
(Source for Mr Barlow: everychildmatters.gov.uk)
Considering that the teenage population has increased in this period, this actually means there’s been a net rise in teenage pregnancies in Bristol in the last ten years.
Although we are now, of course, into the eighth year of a £150m 10-year New Labour strategy to reduce conception rates nationally among under-18s by 50%.
The strategy locally appears to be being managed by our old friends GOSW through a maze of bizarre partnerships with health services, social services, regeneration organisations, education departments, housing associations and all the other big cash handout/low performance suspects.
And this local set-up – riddled with the usual array of steering groups, action plans, targets and performance indicators – has now spent seven years worth of public money creating inertia.
So what’s GOSW’s response to their failing bureaucratic Tower of Babel – employing an endless stream of Teenage Pregnancy Strategy Co-ordinators and the like? Er, more of the same while spinning away their failure with stats!
So coming to a desk near you soon: the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy 2007 – 2010 as prepared by our very own regional Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board. Meanwhile GOSW are more than happy to completely mislead the people of Bristol:
The Department for Children, Schools and Families strategy for reducing the numbers of teenage pregnancies has already proved a success – with under 18 conception rates down by 11.8% and at their lowest level for 20 years.
You can rest assured Mr Cameron and his Tories will be responding to this utter failure of the left by using one word an awful lot over the coming year and it’s going to be very difficult for the poorly performing bureaucrats and their political bosses behind these social policy fiascoes to argue back given the hopeless bankruptcy of their own solutions.
That word is “Wisconsin”. You have been warned.