The National Citizen Service pilot has been hailed a success by the government, with an estimated £1 to £2 social return for every £1 invested, according to an independent report published today.
The interim evaluation of the 2011 pilot, carried out by NatCen and New Philanthropy Capital, measured the impact on participants and compared these to a control sample of teenagers from similar backgrounds. The figure of £1 to £2 benefit is based on the value of social action and the improved education outcomes.
At a briefing on the impact report, minister for civil society Nick Hurd described the £1,300 spent on each place as “a significant investment” of taxpayers' money, adding that, “we did need some early indication that it represented value for money” as the programme is expands next year to 30,000 places available, and 90,000 by 2014.
The minister also revealed that a shorter version of the programme will be trialled. During the October half-term students will have the opportunity to take part in a nine-day version of National Citizen Service. The number of places that will be available and the format of the shorter programme is still being finalised.
Other key findings:
- 95 per cent of participants would recommend the programme
- 77 per cent of participants said they are now more likely to help out locally
- 85 per cent of participants said they felt more positive towards people from different social backgrounds
The full report will shortly be available from the NatCen website.
The Challenge Network, which is the largest provider, also released results from its scheme. Some 96 per cent of participants completed the programme and 85 per cent went on to complete 30 more hours of volunteering.
The government is inviting voluntary organisations, social enterprises, public sector organisations to bid to run programmes in 2013. For more information click here.