Job Centre UK
Youth unemployment in the UK is at a rate of 16.9%, with 767,000 16- to 24 -year-olds out of work.Reuters

Central government should give local councils the power to commission charities and other organisations to carry out two of the UK's biggest schemes to get unemployed young people into work, according to a thinktank.

The Youth Contract subsidises the wages of jobless young people taken on by firms, as well as offers them support and training to build up their confidence, experience and skills.

And the Work Programme is a compulsory training and support scheme for the long-term unemployed. Those aged 18-24 and who have been claiming Job Seeker's Allowance for at least nine months must go onto the Work Programme. For those with no skills or little education this is just three months.

As it stands, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) commissions organisations to be the service providers under the schemes. But the Work Programme providers in particular have been accused of failing those who use it because the statistics for those getting jobs are so poor.

"The DWP should devolve commissioning of the Youth Contract and Work Programme to cities post-2016," said the Centre for Cities in its report on youth unemployment.

"Councils that have had responsibility for delivering the Youth Contract have demonstrated their ability to produce better results compared to national providers.

"Devolving the Work Programme to city level would allow local partners to embed services in the wider institutional system with a city, joining up with other local employment support providers and employers."

Youth unemployment is a significant problem in the UK economy. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year-olds was 16.9% in the three months to June 2014 with 767,000 out of work. But this was a fall of 2.1% and 102,000 on the quarter respectively.

Studies show that there are "scarring" effects of being young and unemployed, with many going on to be poorer, less healthy and drawn to crime in later life.