HC Deb 20 November 1984 vol 68 c142W
Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the report by Mr. Geoffrey Cockerill on youth exchanges.

Mr. Renton

I have now been able to consider this report in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, taking into account the comments of the British Council, the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges and other interested organisations. We accept the main recommendations of this report, namely, that there should be a single central office responsible for co-ordinating Government support for youth exchanges. The British Council and Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges have agreed to establish from April 1985 a youth exchange centre to develop and implement policies on youth exchange, and that each should devote to it initially no less than the resources they currently allot to youth exchange work individually. Thereafter, each body will allocate to the centre annually an agreed element of its total Government grant based on the centre's estimated requirements. Such a joint centre should provide for the best use of resources.

The centre will have a joint steering group, which will advise Ministers direct on request on youth exchange matters and will be advised by a consultative committee with membership drawn from the local authority and voluntary youth sectors. The centre will be responsible for the allocation of grant moneys for youth exchanges generally and will determine, in discussion with interested organisations, the extent and nature of and the detailed arrangements for delegating, as recommended in the report, the allocation of a proportion of grant moneys at local and regional level.

The centre will also be responsible for collaboration with, and the allocation of, operational funds to the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC): provision of an advisory service for those organising youth exchanges; and provision of training workshops for youth leaders and workers.

More detailed organisational arrangements are under consideration by a small preparatory committee of the agencies concerned.