Ipsos MORI was commissioned by the Cabinet Office to evaluate the summer and autumn programmes of National Citizen Service (NCS) 2013. NCS is a Government-backed initiative that brings together young people aged 15 to 17 from different backgrounds to help them develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility, with a view to creating a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society. It is managed by the NCS Trust, an independent not for profit organisation.
NCS 2013 summer and autumn programmes involved over 37,000 young people taking part in a range of team activities, as well as a social action project in their local community. This report covers the findings from the first stage of the evaluation, measuring the short-term impacts and value for money of NCS 2013 – future stages will assess the longer-term impact from NCS, and its long-term value for money. Impacts were measured across four outcome areas: social mixing; transition to adulthood; teamwork, communication and leadership; and community involvement. Further research was also carried out with the parents and teachers of the young people participating in NCS.
Both the summer and autumn programmes were found to have statistically significant positive impacts in all four outcome areas, and NCS was estimated to have delivered greater social benefits than the costs involved (between £1.70 and £6.10 for every £1 invested in summer, and between £1.27 and £6.09 for every £1 in autumn when including health impacts). These matched participants’, parents’ and teachers’ highly positive personal impressions of what participants had achieved from NCS.
This stage of the evaluation comprised four components:
- self-completion paper and online surveys of NCS participants and control groups, conducted before the summer and autumn programmes began, and again around three months after their completion (24,926 NCS participants and 8,750 control group members in summer, of whom 3,091 and 1,724 respectively were followed up; and 6,770 NCS participants and 3,638 control group members in autumn, of whom 1,310 and 1,397 respectively were followed up)
- an online survey of 611 parents of NCS participants (both summer and autumn), carried out between January and February 2014
- qualitative in-depth interviews with 20 teachers of NCS participants
- an economic analysis using data from the participant surveys
This report was updated on 20 January 2015 to correct two of the difference-in-difference scores on Figure 4.6. The same scores were also corrected in Appendix B.