The Office for Civil Society increased its spending on the National Citizen Service by a third last year, the Cabinet Office’s annual report and accounts show.
The OCS spent £84.3m on the NCS in the year to 31 March 2014, up from £62m the year before. As reported by Third Sector last week, fewer than 40,000 young people took part in the programme last year, despite the government having aimed for 50,000.
Increased NCS spend accounted for most of the increase in programme spend by the Office for Civil Society last year, which rose from £144.6m to £170.4m.
The second-biggest programme spend by category was £20.3m on "social action", which includes areas such as volunteering and supporting giving, and was down from £27.4m on the previous year.
The Cabinet Office’s Centre for Social Action – which was launched by the department last year and will support programmes that encourage people to create positive change through social action – is due to spend up to £36m in total over two years, the accounts show. The programme is being run by the innovation charity Nesta.
Funding for the Community First programme, which encourages social action in deprived areas, rose by just under £1m to £18.2m.
The Technical Assistance programme of specialist support – to build the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector’s capacity to deliver public contracts and grow the social investment market – received £13.4m, more than double last year’s £5.9m.
The 2012/13 spend of £15.4m on structural support declined to just £75,000 in 2013/14.
The accounts say that the main recipients of OCS programme grants were the NCS Trust, the Big Lottery Fund, the Challenge Network, the Community Development Foundation, the Social Investment Business, Locality and Nesta.