Council acts to secure access to Duke of Edinburgh Award

Bath and North East Somerset Council has taken steps to ensure that young people in the area can continue to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

As part of budget reductions agreed under the authority’s previous Liberal Democrat administration in February, from next September B&NES will no longer offer a blanket licence scheme for the Duke of Edinburgh Award to schools in the area.

However, at a meeting of the authority’s Children & Young People scrutiny panel last Tuesday, 17th November, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Michael Evans (Cons, Midsomer Norton North), announced that the Council will be taking additional steps to ensure that young people throughout the area can continue to take part in the award.

The Conservative-run Council has said that it will be earmarking funding in its forthcoming budget to enable the continuation of the existing Duke of Edinburgh Award Open Access centres in Bath and Keynsham, and will be working with local schools and youth service providers throughout the area to support them in continuing to offer the award.

Councillor Michael Evans said:

“The Duke of Edinburgh Award is highly valued by young people throughout our area, and is something I have personally supported for many years. I have therefore been keen to ensure that B&NES does what it can so that young people throughout our area can continue to take part in the DofE award scheme, despite the budget reductions the council is having to make.

“The steps we are now taking will mean that the volunteer-supported Open Centres, which would have been left to fend for themselves under the previous plans, will now be supported by the council as before. The council will obtain the licence, support volunteers with training and advice, and assist with the necessary legal procedures required by the government.

“Funding to enable this is to be included in the budget plan for the 2016-17 financial year, and we will monitor the success of this approach over that period.

“In addition, we will continue to work with local schools and other youth service providers to give advice and guidance to those who wish to be accredited to offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme themselves using the devolved budgets schools now have or funding through the Pupil Premium.”