Youth sector ‘hurt' by government plans for statutory NCS

Adam Offord
Friday, June 3, 2016

The youth sector has been "hurt" by the government's decision to place the National Citizen Service (NCS) on a statutory footing while ignoring calls to give universal youth work the same status, the chair of the Institute of Youth Work (IYW) has said.

??The comments by Adam Muirhead come following the Queen’s Speech last month, which revealed the government is to pump £1.2bn into the flagship social action programme and introduce a legislative bill to place NCS “on a permanent statutory footing” in order to meet its target of 300,000 participants by 2020, as announced in the Chancellor's Spending Review.

?Speaking to CYP Now, Muirhead said the youth sector is “feeling quite hurt” after campaigning for many years for youth work to be made statutory.

However, he did acknowledge that putting NCS on a statutory footing would be a positive move.

?“We are actually quite pleased that a form of work for young people has been made statutory,” Muirhead said.

“What we want to ensure is that the youth work methodology is clear and present in that work. ??We would be really interested in working with NCS around that.”

??The Local Government Association has already warned that the cash injection should not be at the expense of other youth services, something which the IYW also has concerns about.

Muirhead added: “We have concerns that it might deflect resources away from other forms of youth work, but I don’t see why we can't try to strategise over that.”

He also said models of youth work place social action as the final stage of engaging young people, and that more investment is needed in the early stages – social engagement and social learning – of a young person’s development.

“Investing this much in that third rung without investing more in social engagement and social learning could be problematic for the government if it wants to reach its target,” he warned.??

Muirhead also told CYP Now that the institute is likely to launch its new priorities later this month, following its first annual general meeting that took place earlier this year. ?

Some of the priorities will focus around communication, raising professional standards and advocating for youth work, but there will also be a focus on education and how the institute can promote education and widen access to youth work.

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