Youths encouraged to get smart

Smart cards could be used to encourage Britain’s teenagers to participate in constructive past times under plans announced by the Government.

As part of the Youth Matters green paper published last month, local authorities will be encouraged to develop and pilot “Opportunity Cards”.

The cards would provide discounts on a range of things to do and places to go, and could also be topped up by young people and their parents with money to spend on sports and other constructive activities.

The Government says it will top up the cards for disadvantaged 13 to 16-year-olds not engaging in unacceptable or anti-social behaviour. Rewards could also be given for those young people making progress in improving their situation.

The cards would be printed with a photograph and act as a proof of age.

If integrated with other smart card enabled government services, the cards could also provide access to library and leisure services, thus ensuring authorities also meet their IEG Priority Outcomes for these areas.

The Government published the Youth Green Paper, Youth Matters on July 18. It addresses key issues relating to how we support and challenge our teenagers.

Building on the ambition of Every Child Matters, which promotes the idea that all young people should achieve five key outcomes (being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being), Youth Matters aims to radically re-shape services for young people.

The consultation sets out a comprehensive package aimed at improving outcomes for all young people, with a particular emphasis on those who are disadvantaged.