Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
In September 2014, the Welsh Government and Welsh Liberal Democrats issued a joint statement setting out a two-year budget agreement, which included a focus on supporting children, young people and early intervention. In particular, commitments aimed at supporting young people in training, education and employment and reducing the barriers they face were referenced.
One of these commitments was to allocate up to £400,000 over a two-year period to undertake an independent feasibility study to determine what further support young parents may need to help them return to further education where childcare is a barrier. The feasibility study will be used to clarify the need for, and inform the focus of, a proposed pilot in 2016-17.
On 11 November, I agreed to provide Assembly Members with an update on progress in relation to this agreement. A tender for the feasibility study was issued in November with a closing date of 11 December. Expressions of interest were received from a number of organisations and following an assessment process, we have identified a preferred bid.
We will be undertaking the usual discussions on the terms of appointment and contractual arrangements over the Christmas period. Subject to their satisfactory conclusion, the preferred bidder will be formally appointed in the New Year and I will update Assembly Members accordingly.
Any final decision on the proposed pilot study will be made in light of the findings of the feasibility study.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.