HC Deb 04 May 1999 vol 330 cc327-8W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what(a) recommendations and (b) reports the Youth Sports Unit has made to date. [81805]

Mr. Banks

[holding answer 28 April 1999]: The Youth Sports Unit is a part of my team of advisers in DCMS. It does not have an identity separate from Government or publish its own recommendations or reports. Its remit is to work closely with other Government Departments, Sport England (the Sports Councils) and other providers to ensure that youth sport and play maintains a high profile and features in other Government Departments' policies.

The Unit works closely with the Department for Education and Employment on PE in the National Curriculum as well as feeding into initiatives such as Surestart and childcare issues. The Unit liaises with the Department of Health on initiatives to encourage physical activity amongst young people, and officials sat on the Home Office inter departmental working group on Preventing Unsuitable People from Working with Children and Abuse of Trust (PUWCAT). The Unit works to ensure that Sport England has policies that reflect the Government's aim to encourage more young people to participate in sport. It also works alongside Sport England's young people team representing the department on steering groups on schemes such as Sporting Ambassadors, a new Activity Award for primary schools and Sportsmark.

The Unit is represented on the Departmental Policy Action Team (PATIO) Arts and Sport, which has been asked to report on best practice in using arts, sport and leisure to engage people in poor neighbourhoods, on how to maximise the impact on poor neighbourhoods of Government spending and policies on arts, sport and leisure, and to draw up an action plan with targets to maximise the impact of arts, sport and leisure policies in contributing to neighbourhood regeneration and increasing local participation. It has also contributed to work on the forthcoming sports strategy paper, which will promote participation in sport by children and young people.

The Unit is currently considering the responses from the play field to the recent children's play consultation exercise asking about The focus of future centrally funded play services. They were also involved in the Lottery play leaflet issued in May last year and the recent New Opportunities Fund initiatives.