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Commons Library Analysis of the National Citizen Service Bill [HL] (Bill 114 of 2016-17)

Published Monday, January 9, 2017

This Commons Library Briefing Paper has been prepared for the second reading debate of the National Citizen Service Bill [HL] 2016-17 on 16 January 2017.

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The National Citizen Service

The National Citizen Service (NCS) consists of courses for young people in England and Northern Ireland, mostly aged 16 and 17. The courses take place during school holidays and involve a mixture of activities - adventures, life skills and social action - to encourage young people to engage with their community and develop for the future. The NCS is currently administered by the NCS Trust, a community interest company.

The National Citizen Service Bill [HL] 2016-17

The National Citizen Service Bill [HL] 2016-17 [Bill no. 114] was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 December 2016. It will have its Second Reading debate on 16 January 2017.

The Bill, in combination with a Royal Charter, would place the NCS on a permanent statutory footing. The Bill’s Explanatory Notes state that the Bill:

  • Incorporates the new NCS Trust as a Charter body and creates a legislative mechanism to transfer the business of the Company to the new Trust. This creates a legislative framework for the NCS, with the aim of making it a national institution while preserving its independent ethos;
  • Aims to secure that the administrative and funding arrangements for the NCS Trust are appropriate for the increased level of public funds the Trust will manage, with proper accountability to government and Parliament; and
  • Aims to impose on the NCS Trust an appropriate level of government control for a body in receipt of public funds

In addition, the Bill would enable HMRC to send information about the Trust and its work to young people who are eligible for NCS and invite them to take part.

The Bill [HL Bill 64] was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 11 October 2016 where it was welcomed by all parties. However areas of concern included:

  • the role of the HMRC
  • the need for the NCS Trust to work collaboratively with other organisations in the voluntary and community sector
  • the NCS Trust’s commissioning process
  • making sure NCS programmes reach the most socially excluded
  • appointments to the NCS Trust Board
  • the reporting requirements for the NCS Trust

The Bill would extend to England and Wales but would only apply to England.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7853

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Voluntary organisations

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