DEVON County Council is launching a public consultation on a fundamental change to its youth service.

The county is considering moving from a universal service to a more targeted one aimed at early help and prevention.

Skilled youth workers would work with social workers and other partners to identify and provide early help and support to vulnerable young people and those most at risk.

The targeted approach means the council would no longer manage or run more traditional centre-based activities aimed at universal support for all.

Community and voluntary groups, or others with an interest ,will be invited to suggest alternative models or express an interest in taking over any of the council’s 34 youth centres as part of the 12-week consultation.

The proposed changes are a response to the recent critical OFSTED report on the county’s children’s services, together with budget pressures being faced by all councils.

Devon’s cabinet member, Will Mumford, said: “These proposals envisage a significant shift from open access, universal facilities to targeted support for those most in need.

“We’ve already had a number of meetings with young people, staff, and voluntary and community groups to talk about how we might proceed, and we now welcome approaches from anyone to develop alternative proposals.”