Gove confirms DfE could relinquish responsibility for youth policy

By Neil Puffett

| 01 March 2013

The government is considering shifting responsibility for youth policy from the Department for Education to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Education Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed.

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Michael Gove appeared before the national scrutiny group. Image: BYC

The admission came when Gove appeared before the British Youth Council’s (BYC) national scrutiny group this week to answer questions on the future of youth policy in central government.

During a 30-minute session with members of the group, Gove was quizzed on comments he made in January, when he told a cross-party group of MPs that youth policy was “not a central government priority”.

Scrutiny group member Yasmin Rufo, 15, said: “I asked if a transfer of responsibility of youth policy to DCLG was being considered. 

“He confirmed this is something being looked at hard at the moment, because DCLG already has responsibility for some youth programmes such as the Youth United initiative.”

CYP Now has previously reported on rumours in the sector that the DCLG could provide a new home for youth policy.

Following the scrutiny group meeting, Rosina St James, chair of the BYC, urged government to review any plans to pass responsibility for youth policy to another department, and called for a consultation to take place before any final decision is made.

“Any debate about a change of emphasis between departments would benefit from the planned input of stakeholders to a consultation, to include those representing local, national, public, private, voluntary interests as well as young people themselves,” she said.

Gove also used the meeting of the scrutiny group to distribute his written response to a letter from young people, which described his comments on youth policy as “alarming”.

Gove's response letter emphasised the Department for Education’s focus on schools, but insisted that the government still recognises the importance of support outside the classroom.

“As a government, we have invested significantly in improving that support – through the £1bn youth contract, the National Citizen Service, support for uniformed voluntary youth organisations, and by building Myplace centres in the most deprived areas of the country,” the letter said.

“We know that each of these programmes is helping young people in developing the kind of employability skills you mention in your letter, that will help them to succeed in the future.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said "various options" for shifting responsibility of youth policy are being explored.

"No final decisions have been made," she added.

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