There has been significant political interest in the idea of a national citizens’ service. This idea has attracted support from across the political spectrum – David Cameron proposed a six-week citizen service programme for 16-year olds in 2007, while Labour politicians such as David Lammy have also supported the idea of a smiliar scheme. The issue has risen up the agenda as parties are in the process of formulating their manifestos for the next general election; there have recently been high-profile interventions in the debate, such as a recent article in Prospect magazine by James Crabtree and Frank Field MP.
It is looking increasingly likely that a form of civic service scheme for young people will feature in one or both of the main party manifestos and that such a scheme will be rolled out over the next 3 to 5 years. But there remain several different proposals on the table, and some important gaps in the debate that need to be filled in deciding between them.
In December 2009 Demos published Service Nation, detailing our research and recommendations into youth civic. The recommendations call for a 'playground to pension' approach to service, with more service learning in schools, university-style grants and loans to young people taking part in service schemes and opportunities to volunteer throughout your career.
Download Service Nation for free.
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Civic service comes from the idea that individuals have a duty to their fellow citizens. In this report Sonia Sodha and Dan Leighton set out a clear set of policy proposals for introducing civic service in the UK. It argues for bottom-up civic service that starts at an early age and continues throughout citizen's lives.
This pamphlet reports on the Young People's Convention on the Deficit that Demos hosted before the spending review, and finds that young people urgently need a transfer of political capital.