National Citizen Service might cost £110m in 2014, says Cabinet Office

Department reveals the figure as it begins to sound out the forward market for the youth volunteering scheme

National Citizen Service volunteers
National Citizen Service volunteers

The government's National Citizen Service programme might cost up to £110m in 2014, according to the Cabinet Office.

The department yesterday issued an "early market-sounding questionnaire", aimed at gathering views on the scheme and helping the government to develop its procurement strategy. It said the market for running NCS schemes "could be worth up to £110m by 2014".

Under the programme, 15 and 16-year-olds from different backgrounds give up their summer holidays to take part in outdoor activities and volunteering opportunities. About 30,000 young people will be given the chance to take part in the programme this year.

The government announced last October that it would extend the programme to 90,000 young people in 2014, but had not previously indicated how much the expanded scheme would cost.

In a statement, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "This is the chance for big businesses and small voluntary organisations across the country to shape and be part of a unique flagship government programme at its early stage of development.

"It’s also a chance to give young people opportunities, transform communities and participate in the creation of a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society."

The department is running three workshops in March for interested organisations. The event for the voluntary sector will be held on 5 March in London.

The NCS has been criticised by trade unions and charities for taking money away from youth services and other good causes. In June, a cross-party group of MPs called on the government to withdraw funding for the NCS because they were concerned about "the scheme's cost and practical implementation".

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