Government calls on councils to take on NCS role

By Neil Puffett

| 25 October 2017

Councils should play more of a role supporting local National Citizen Service (NCS) programmes and encouraging more young people to take part, the government has said.

The government wants councils to get more involved with promoting National Citizen Service programmes. Picture: NCS Trust

Guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) states that councils have a role in promoting NCS to all young people in their area and should appoint a senior officer to act as a lead local contact for the flagship initiative.

The government said the guidance, which is non-statutory, has been produced to help local authorities "embed" NCS into local areas and increase the number of young people from all backgrounds and circumstances taking part in the programme.

It sets out six key actions for local authorities to take - firstly that each local authority appoints an NCS lead at assistant director level or above - possibly someone who has wider responsibility for youth opportunities in the area.

The lead officer should then build a relationship with the local NCS provider, establish local priorities with them, connect the NCS provider with local stakeholders, promote NCS to all young people in the area, and include NCS in local strategies.

"The NCS Trust wants to do more to work with local areas to ensure that growth is sustainable and inclusive," the guidance states.

"NCS is something that every young person should have the chance to do, regardless of circumstances or any additional needs they may have.

"Independent DCMS-commissioned annual surveys of NCS participants consistently show the positive impact of the programme on young people.

"Local authorities have rich networks and a deep understanding of their areas. That is why the government is asking local authorities to help ensure more young people sign up for this life-changing experience."

The NCS has struggled to keep pace with participation targets and in February, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport revised the government's aim of involving 360,000 young people by 2020/21 down to 247,000.

Earlier this month it emerged that the NCS programme could be shortened in a bid to save money. A three-week programme - a week shorter than usual - is currently being trialled.

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