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National Citizen Service ‘more costly than youth services’

At a cost of £355m a year, the National Citizen Service programme could be more expensive than the investment by local government in youth services, according to a Labour MP.

In discussions about the NCS, the national youth volunteering programme, in Parliament yesterday, MP Luciana Berger said that the value by local authorities of their own youth programmes was less than the annual cost of the NCS.

Berger said she was concerned by a report by the Education Committee “which found that, based on the cost per head of the 2011 pilot, it will cost a total of £55m each year to provide a universal offer for the NCS, and that, even allowing for economies of scale, that may well outstrip the entire annual spending by local authorities on youth services, which totalled £350m in 2009/10.”

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd noted that the young people participating in the NCS scheme found it a valuable experience. A report released earlier this year found the programme had a 95 per cent satisfaction rating and a cost-to-benefit ratio of 2:1.

“Although people in the youth sector are understandably frustrated at cuts elsewhere, they are beginning to recognise that the NCS is an enormously positive asset in terms of developing the young people of this country,” he said.

This article was taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/13319