Bids from consortia expected for National Citizen Service pilots

Office for Civil Society says applicants must be able to provide all parts of the volunteering programme

Charities may need to form consortia with other voluntary organisations and private companies to run the government’s new National Citizen Service programme, according to the Office for Civil Society.

The OCS yesterday opened a competitive tender process for organisations hoping to run pilot projects for the volunteering programme for 16-year-olds, which will begin next year.

The announcement said bids to run the pilots will only be accepted if they show that they can deliver all parts of the programme, which lasts for 7-8 weeks and includes a residential placement, a physical challenge and work in participants’ communities.

The OCS specification says: "We expect that organisations may need to come together and bid jointly to ensure that the full programme of activities can be provided in their proposed pilot."

It says the department expects about 10,000 young people to take part in next year’s pilot projects.

An OCS spokesman said it was likely to give out a small number of grants to run the programme. He was unable to confirm the total budget because it was subject to the government’s comprehensive spending review, which would be completed by the autumn.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is 12pm on 25 August.

Organisations wanting more details should email before 20 August.

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