Views sought on National Citizen Service Bill

The measure that would put the service on a statutory footing is due to go to committee later this month

NCS: bill working its way through parliament
NCS: bill working its way through parliament

People with an interest in the legislation that will put the National Citizen Service on a statutory footing are being invited to submit their views to the committee of MPs that will review the bill later this month.

The National Citizen Service Bill, which passed its second reading after being debated by MPs in parliament yesterday, will give the body that runs the NCS a royal charter and put measures in place to improve the scheme’s accountability.

It has now been passed to the committee stage during which a small group of MPs will consider the legislation line by line.

Interested parties have been asked to send their views on the legislation to the committee, which is due to meet for the first time on 24 January and complete its work by 5pm on 26 January, although it might finish sooner.

The sooner groups or individuals submit their evidence, the more time the committee will have to take it into consideration, a statement from parliament said.

Steve Reed, the shadow minister for civil society, said during the debate yesterday that his party broadly supported the bill, meaning that it is unlikely to face much opposition as it makes its way through the House of Commons. It has already gone through the House of Lords.

The government is in the process of expanding the NCS from 80,000 places a year to 300,000 by 2020, supported by £1.2bn of government funds.

The scheme, which gives 16 and 17-year-olds the opportunity to take part in residential activities and community work, has consistently failed to hit its participation targets since it was launched in 2011. Almost 58,000 of the 80,000 places offered in 2014/15 were filled.

The National Audit Office warned last week that the scheme would be 40 per cent undersubscribed in 2020 at current levels of growth and said costs per place had to fall by 30 per cent if the scheme was to remain within budget.

For more information on how to submit evidence to the committee, click here.

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