NEWS11 May 2011

NatCen leads consortium to evaluate UK ‘citizen service’ pilot

New business UK

UK— A consortium of social researchers is evaluating a pilot scheme in which school leavers take part in ‘citizen service’ during the summer holiday.

The group is led by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and also includes the Office of Public Management, think tank New Philanthropy Capital and consultancy Frontier Economics.

The National Citizen Service scheme involves groups of young people spending three weeks working together to improve the areas where they live. As one of the government’s Big Society initiatives it is designed to encourage people to get involved in their communities, and the evaluation aims to work out how it can be improved before it is introduced throughout the country in 2013.

Pilots will be run by twelve organisations across England this summer with 11,000 young people taking part, increasing to 30,000 next year.

Researchers will talk to young people and community leaders about their experience of the pilot, conduct a survey to measure public attitudes and carry out an economic analysis to assess whether the pilot schemes offer value for money. NatCen’s Gareth Morrell, the lead researcher on the project, said the team anticipates “lots of interest” in the results, which will look at whether social mixing improves community cohesion, and how young people can be encouraged to be more socially minded.

An interim report will be published in February 2012 with the final report due in February 2013.