To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department has taken to encourage sharing good practice in the provision of transport for young people since his Department published, "Youth matters: next steps", in March 2006; and if he will make a statement.
As a result of "Youth Matters: Next Steps", the Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a duty on local authorities to secure young people's access to positive activities. To do so local authorities will need to identify and address barriers to access, including, where applicable and practicable, issues associated with the provision of transport. There are a number of ways in which local authorities can tackle transport barriers, including using subsidy and involving young people in local transport planning.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families signalled its further commitment to improving transport for young people taking part in positive activities through "Aiming High for Young People: a ten year strategy for positive activities" published in July 2007. The strategy contains a commitment to improve existing guidance, support and challenge to children's trusts and transport planners to encourage joined up planning and commissioning of transport for the benefit of young people.
In Bedfordshire, £50,000 of Youth Opportunity Fund money is supporting a transport scheme to help young people in rural areas access activities. In Nottingham, the DCSF is supporting the city council in a pilot which will give economically disadvantaged young people the equivalent of £20 a month free public transport to help them access positive activities.