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Social Action

Volume 792: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2018

Question for Short Debate

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to implement the recommendations of the independent review of full-time social action carried out by Steve Holliday.

My Lords, I am very pleased to have secured today’s debate following the publication of Steve Holliday’s independent youth full-time social action review in January and the Government’s response just before the Summer Recess. I thank the small but perfectly formed number of noble Lords who are taking part in the debate. I would like to make the case for expanding youth full-time social action in England. I hope that the Minister will elaborate in his response on the actions that the Government intend to take regarding the recommendations made in the review, particularly the progress being made in establishing a youth full-time social action pilot.

I pay tribute to the dedication of those young people across the country who volunteer full-time for a year or so, pouring countless hours into their communities. Among other things, they are supporting disadvantaged children to do better at school; helping people sleeping rough to find shelter and turn their lives around; speeding up the recovery of hospital patients; supporting those relying on social care; and taking part in environmental action with local and global impact. They do so without asking for recognition, reward or support from Government. Just because they do not ask for it, however, does not mean it should not be provided.

We can take a look at what is happening in other countries. Governments in Germany, France and the United States have recognised the value of youth full-time social action by creating national programmes for young adults aged 18 to 27 that attract many thousands of applicants. These programmes allow their young participants to choose to volunteer full time for up to a year in tackling some of their society’s biggest challenges and working in those areas about which they care most. In return for this incredible undertaking, the volunteers receive generous expenses to support them while they serve and rewards for completing their programmes, such as educational grants and student debt forgiveness.

The projects are supported by these Governments because of the positive impact that they can have on public service provision, youth employment, career development, social integration and citizenship and civic engagement, so it will come as no surprise that these initiatives are proven to offer real value for money for the Governments who invest in them. Evidence from the United States’ AmeriCorps programme, which recruits about 80,000 young full-time volunteers every year, suggests that for every dollar invested by the Federal Government, they receive almost $4 in return. Owing to the status of youth full-time social action in those countries, graduates are admired by their fellow citizens, rewarded by their Governments and sought after by universities and employers. A few years ago, President Obama said:

“If you’re an employer who wants to hire talented, dedicated, patriotic, skilled, tireless, energetic workers, look to AmeriCorps … Citizens who perform national service are special. You want them on your team”.

Let us compare that with how we treat full-time volunteers here in the UK. Instead of having their service acknowledged and rewarded, full-time volunteers in England are categorised as not in education, employment or training. In other words, they are seen as part of a problem instead of part of a solution. This status is not just insulting to all the young people who pour in thousands of hours to improve their local communities; it also has stark practical implications. They are forbidden from receiving any support if they do not turn up to volunteer on a given day, in effect barring them from sick and holiday pay.

The benefits system can be hugely problematic for the participants and the legal framework is not always clear. Therefore, one question that I would like to ask the Minister is whether he can work with the DWP to provide jobcentres with clear guidance so as to get a consistency of approach and an openness to make participation easier. That was brought to my attention when I visited City Year UK at Compass secondary school in London last year. City Year UK is a charity which challenges 18 to 25 year-olds to tackle educational inequality through a year of full-time voluntary service. Its full-time volunteer mentors support pupils in primary and secondary schools who are growing up in some of the most difficult and disadvantaged communities here. The volunteers are integral to the school day. They encourage pupils who are at risk of falling behind by supporting them both in and out of the classroom, and they encourage them to enjoy learning. In some cases, the volunteers are being forced to withdraw from the scheme because of unhelpful interventions from jobcentres. It is bad for them, bad for the school and, above all, bad for the students they support, many of whom have abandonment issues.

In the case of City Year UK, pupils from low socioeconomic backgrounds are supported by the volunteers and we see improved attendance, behaviour and attainment. The volunteers benefit from the front-line work experience, and City Year UK runs a leadership development programme, which also helps to deliver their work-readiness skills. In the same month that I visited the volunteers at the school, the then Minister for Civil Society, recognising the difficulties of the status of full-time volunteers in this country, launched the youth full-time social action review. This was chaired by the former CEO of National Grid, Steve Holliday, who was supported by expert panellists such as Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England. The findings were published in January and acknowledged that youth full-time social action does indeed play an important role in meeting governmental priorities on social mobility, inclusion, careers education and skills development. Consequently, the review called for the Government to better support, encourage and recognise these full-time youth volunteers.

The review made a number of sensible, practical recommendations to the Government on how to achieve this—for example, by encouraging jobcentres to be more open to the idea. However, I want to focus on what I think is the most significant recommendation from the review, and that is the creation of a government-backed youth full-time social action pilot scheme—one which could eventually work to grow and emulate initiatives such as AmeriCorps.

Although Mr Holliday calls on the Department for Education to initiate this pilot, I think that it could be equally, if not better, co-ordinated out of the DCMS. I say that because that department already runs a youth social action programme—the National Citizen Service. This three- to four-week social action programme for 16 and 17 year-olds has already laid a foundation on which to build a long-term offer. The NCS now engages around 100,000 young people every year, 64% of whom say that they want to continue volunteering. A new long-term offer for those over 18 could meet some of this demand and, above all, it could make sure that NCS is not a short, one-off programme but instead creates a lifelong habit of social action. This was called for by the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement of your Lordships’ House. NCS at 16 should be the beginning and definitely not the limit of a young person’s opportunity to serve.

Sadly, the Government’s response to the review lacked anything of the ambition and vision of the young people who stepped up to serve through social action. Indeed, the Government chose to release their response as Parliament was going into recess on what “The West Wing” always liked to call the “taking out the trash day”. There was no mention of a pilot programme, no connection to NCS, no action at all—the hallmarks of a colossal missed opportunity.

The publication of the review could not have come at a better time. I am afraid this nation does not feel at ease with itself, and what could be more inspiring to all of us than a co-ordinated programme of full-time voluntary action which is properly recognised and celebrated? We all know that too many young people lack the skills to participate fully in the modern employment market. Evidence shows that this sort of programme could make a real difference. The Government have just published the rather good Civil Society Strategy which has young people and volunteering at its core. They will shortly publish strategies on how to build integrated communities and how to beat loneliness.

I believe that the time and the need to explore the possibility of expanding new full-time social action is now. The first step towards this is establishing a pilot programme with the support of the sector—organisations such as City Year, Volunteering Matters, vinspired, Depaul, The Scout Association and The Wildlife Trusts. I thank everyone speaking in the debate, and I look forward to the Minister’s reply.

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow my noble friend Lady Scott of Needham Market. She and I share a wide-ranging interest in the voluntary sector. Although sometimes we come to it from a slightly different angle, we always end up having rather interesting discussions, of which I hope this is one.

I start from a very obvious but necessary point: we all agree that social action is a good thing. It is something that we all wish to encourage. It is something of which all Governments of every stripe are in favour. Going back to the 19th century, one can look at different initiatives which have arisen from different Governments, all in the name of trying to stimulate social action. I can certainly think back to the time of the Blair Government, when there were big new programmes of volunteering and social action announced with great fanfare.

Every time this House debates and discusses social action, we return to four key things: what is the purpose, what is the good that any programme of social action is trying to achieve which cannot be attained in any other way? How is access and eligibility for any programme going to be enabled? What resources will be behind it? Who is going to co-ordinate it? I am afraid we are back with those four questions again today. I was forcibly reminded of that by the fact that I was up very early yesterday morning attending a panel event in which four people were talking about the civil society response to Grenfell Tower. I was very struck by what they said. They had a tale to tell of unsurpassed generosity. In a very short space of time, people from all over this country sent £27 million. People sent goods. People turned up to volunteer to do something in a very immediate way to help in a place in which there was a clear need for social action to overcome a problem. Yet, even in a borough—to give Kensington and Chelsea its due—which has managed more than others to keep its voluntary infrastructure bodies funded, there was a complete lack of infrastructure to co-ordinate that outpouring of people who wanted to do something about social action. That is not just because it was an exceptional tragedy; it was because local government has been systematically stripped of its resources. Many of the first resources to go in local authorities have been those co-ordinating bodies. Consequently, what is left in any borough or local council are very small local organisations, sometimes religious, with a limited capacity to take on board some of the bigger and more intractable problems of social action. A key question that we have to think about when we talk about these national programmes of social action is: who will be there to translate that good will into something of a practical nature?

As we go through this I think we will see not a lack of willingness on the part of local government to treat social action as important, nor a lack of ideas for different, time-limited funds of which social action is an integral part. What we will see is a lack of coherence and long-term thinking. The question that I return to is: whatever this or any national Government’s enthusiasm for social action, how is it possible to ensure that we make the best of what young people have to give if there is no obvious and evident place in which there can be a coherent, co-ordinated response?

Noble Lords will not be surprised—the Minister certainly will not—if I turn to the subject of the National Citizen Service. I am on record as being somewhat critical of it. I do not dispute that the National Citizen Service does great things for young people or that those who go on it have a very good time. What I have always disputed, right from the beginning, is whether that very short-term programme can really be justified given how expensive it is per placement as compared to other services. We must return to asking questions about the National Citizen Service in some detail because it gets 95% of all central government spending on youth services at a time when local government resources for youth services are plummeting.

The Government sometimes come out with the value-for-money figures which noble Lords will have heard the chief executive of the National Citizen Service trot out again earlier in the summer. Those are presented on the basis of the return for every pound invested. I have no doubt that the academics who were brought in to produce that evidence base did a very good and thorough job. But in themselves the figures do not prove that the National Citizen Service is, comparatively speaking, the best way in which the Government should be spending the bulk of the money which they have to spend on this.

I have another question for the Minister. I know that the NCS Trust is making big efforts to get its overhead costs down, because it has been criticised for those. As part of its restructuring programme this summer, it announced that it would be changing the way it deals with a number of delivery partners. If I may pick my noble friend Lady Scott up on this, it is not the DCMS which runs the National Citizen Service; it just hands over a lot of money—£1 billion over three years. What can the Minister tell us about the efforts being made not only to bring down the overhead costs of the National Citizen Service but to improve its relationships with the rest of the voluntary sector? Given that it is largely not a citizenship service at all but a social action service, from its inception Members of your Lordships’ House have said that the National Citizen Service would rest or fall on the quality and durability of its relationships with the rest of the voluntary sector. So I ask them to do that.

The report around which today’s debate is structured asks for stronger managerial input for a full-time social action programme to be bolted on to the NCS. I am not sure that the NCS is the correct vehicle. The question is the extent to which the NCS is becoming, as it was supposed to be, the initial step that young people take towards a longer-term career or make a life-long commitment to social action and volunteering. I am not sure that the evidence is there yet. The NCS has just finished its summer programme for this year and no doubt we will see its next report.

I return to the point about local authorities. I am not asking for a return to the old structure of community service volunteers of years ago, not least because young people today want to do many more things online in a way that is very different from how it was 20 or 30 years ago. I still think there is a role for local government in making sense of the social action capacity of young people in a very immediate and enduring way. I also think that it is the role of government not necessarily to be the arbiter or founder of new schemes, but it certainly is for them to commission and deliver the comparative research data which at the moment is missing in all this. We urgently need data on these things to enable the Government to answer the question: where is the money best spent for the most effective return?

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Scott of Needham Market, on securing this debate. I enjoyed listening to her, as indeed I enjoyed her raising some of these themes on the Bill we discussed two years ago on the NCS. She was not alone in her criticisms of the Government’s approach—the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, was rather more vehement on some points, some of which she repeated today and which I think still have salience. Together, it was obvious that the Government’s initial proposals and those which eventually came through were given a strong critique during the Bill’s passage through this House, and rightly so, because a number of questions still echo in my mind from that time, which we have referred to today.

Turning to the subject of this debate focussing on the recent review, it is wise to bear in mind some of the points made in the earlier two speeches. Obviously the Minister will respond as he sees fit. In coming back to this relatively recently and with not a great deal of continuing interest in it because I have been doing other things, it is disappointing to read of the still relatively limited way in which the NCS is reaching out. Other were concerns expressed at that time that we perhaps also need to reflect on. I seem to remember the main points made were that the NCS, by the way it was created and the way it was funded, would generally destabilise provision. I do not think that has happened as much as people feared, but some effect can be detected. I think we were worried that it would not do sufficient to reach out to the hard-to-reach people, who other bodies, previously set up independently of government and which had a lot of expertise, had been warning that it would be hard to get to, and the evidence is still there that it is not reaching those people. We were worried that it would find it very difficult to scale up. I think that the number is still 100,000 people. That seems a long way short of what we were promised it would be by now during discussion on the Bill.

Perhaps good news is coming down the track, but I am not aware of it. Without scale, we cannot really justify some of the rhetoric used when this was set up: that its costs would be disproportionately high and that the opportunity costs, referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Barker—money that would otherwise have gone to good and effective schemes in this area— would be diverted and that that would be unfair. There were also worries about the general scale of what it was about.

Those were criticisms of a yet to be formed body, but the Government should now defend where they have got to on this, because it is largely their responsibility—a particular aspect of Government, perhaps, but one still Government as a whole. They would be wrong if they were try to conceal anything that should be disclosed about the success or otherwise of this programme.

Taking those memories forward, what struck me positively was that although very strong views were expressed by bodies such as the Scouts and Guides, and others, about the emergence of NCS and its attempt to become, in effect, the standard under which everything else would be done, they did not use the opportunity that they had to destroy what was proposed. Indeed, they acted in a very responsible way, by giving it a chance to establish itself, hoping and praying that it would be an effective addition to the social action area—in particular to young people looking for experience of a wider world before joining whatever career they wanted—and to work together with it, where possible, to make more of the whole than would otherwise be the case.

In that sense, it was good that the DCMS gave assurances, during the Bill’s passage, that it would try to fill some of the points that were missing at the time—as it has indeed done to quite an extent. I think in particular of the concern—I think it was expressed by a group working in the City—about its being a short-term project, and that no consideration was given to year-long projects, which the group supported and seemed to be doing well. Another concern was that there was no sense of continuity of activity—a point made by both earlier speakers. Those who wanted to spend more time in this area, giving more back and benefiting society as a result, would not be able to do so, because the ladders needed for people to progress, or the additional functions into which they could go, would not be there, because of the absence of funding or a broader context.

The decision to set up the review was good, because it meant that some of these issues would not just sit and wait for some casual attention: they were going to be picked up and looked at in the round, and policies would be developed to resolve them. One issue that I recall, which was included in today’s briefing, was the rather absurd situation whereby we want to encourage volunteering but do not provide the appropriate benefits, through the DWP—or credit, when it is done outside public support—so that pensions or other long-term entitlements such as sick pay, are not affected. Why cannot that be sorted? It seems such an obvious and sensible thing that the Government would just do it, particularly when they have very little else to do. At least, however, the task of reviewing these issues was given to those conducting the report, with the expectation that out of it would come recommendations that the Government could action.

The report was conducted by someone with considerable knowledge in this area who also took advice and has published what is a very good read. What is sad, however, is that the Government have again ducked the opportunity to take this another step forward. While credit has been given to the overall policy statement, some of the narrower issues are yet to be addressed. I hope that in his response, the Minister can provide a satisfactory answer why this is the case.

The issue is, however, wider than that. The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, in particular, picked up on this. We have a situation where everyone agrees that voluntary action is a good thing. We want to emulate the best in the world: why not, since we are a big country with resources? We should have the capacity to do it. We have untapped capacity in our society: people who want to do things because they see something wrong—who want to exercise their judgment to try to improve it. There are people who see tragedy and disaster and want to get involved—examples of that have been given. It needs, however, a partnership approach, and the sensitivity of those involved to recognise where Government can act and to let Government do what they can, but to push them to do so when they do not. It also needs, however, a comprehensive overall plan—a road map—to allow people to do it.

I am left perplexed as to why we are not further down this track than we are. The effort that went in to getting NCS up and running will be justified only if we can see a bigger, broader picture on a larger canvas in which people want to be involved, not because they want their lives to be in it permanently but because they would feel their investment of an additional year or two would be worthwhile.

It should be seen in the round of existing provisions, both domestic and overseas, because there lots of people would like to travel and do other things, such as giving something back to overseas territories, and that is to be welcomed. It should be done in a way which does not disadvantage anybody who desires to take this route forward and which enhances the capacity we have as a country to spend a little bit of money to obtain a huge amount of return from voluntary support. It should be done in a way which gives people courage to come back with more proposals, invention, and ideas to make sure that we allow those who have the capacity, skills and the time to contribute in a way which is effective and efficient for the long term.

My Lords, this may be a tail-end of the day debate, but I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, on securing it. It is certainly far from unimportant. While the debate has focused on full-time social action, young people, and the Steve Holliday review, I feel it makes sense for me to extend my comments initially to encompass social action for all age groups. I am reminded of my own maiden speech in this House in 2010 which had a focus on the big society, but I will not go there today.

As the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, said, we should be aspiring to be the best in the world and England has a great record of people helping others. Almost a quarter of the population formally volunteer at least once a month and many more do so informally. Social action is about people coming together to improve the lives of others, and solve problems that are important in their communities. It involves people giving their time in a range of forms: from volunteering and community-owned services to community organising or simple neighbourly acts. To give the Committee an example, the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme has trained people of all ages in what it is like to live with dementia and then how to turn that understanding into action. The programme has been widely successful, with 2.5 million of its dementia friends working to create environments where people with dementia are enabled to live and be well-cared for.

Young people have a vital role to play. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has recently recruited 15 young people to spend time with older people in their own homes to help combat loneliness. In time, this number will grow to 200 young people. This is just one of the projects supported by the Pears Foundation and the #iwill fund, backed by the Government and the Big Lottery Fund.

For young people, we know that participation in social action opens doors. As the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, said, young participants develop key skills for work and life, build their resilience and enhance their well-being, all while giving back to their communities. The National Youth Social Action Survey 2017 by Ipsos MORI found that young people who take part in social action have higher life-satisfaction, improved job prospects and stronger personal networks. I suspect the Committee will know that but what is critically important, both to the individual and to our communities, is not the number of hours that young people spend doing social action but the quality of that social action and experience for young people. For example, it matters that the social action has a clear impact on the community or social problem, and it is important that that is shaped and owned by young people themselves.

I come to the Independent Review of Full-Time Social Action. Given the complexities of this area and the inherent challenges, the full-time social action review by Steve Holliday was an important piece of work. I want to take an opportunity to thank Steve and the panel members for their dedication to the review and to everyone who was involved in this consultation. In particular, I extend these thanks to all the young people who provided vital evidence. These young people painted a mixed picture of full-time social action opportunities. Some found the experience helped them through a difficult time in their lives and furnished them with new skills for the future. However, some young people also highlighted the barriers that prevented them taking part in full-time opportunities.

Important issues were raised, such as inadequate financial support to cover living costs and negative implications for social housing, along with study and caring commitments. One young person said that,

“on balance, it would be a struggle to say it was worth it, by virtue of the short and long-term personal and financial repercussions ... I do not regret the time I spent volunteering, but would personally not recommend anyone take a voluntary position unless they have significant financial backing”.

The review also reflects that:

“The evidence demonstrating the impact of FTSA in contrast with part-time social action is currently very limited. Many organisations argue that quality of social action is more important than quantity”.

The Government therefore welcome a report that acknowledges these issues and sets out a series of steps to make full-time social action opportunities more accessible. In our response we have welcomed a number of the recommendations, including the excellent work of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations to create good practice guidance for organisations which provide full-time social action opportunities.

The recommendations in the panel’s report also mention a proposal for a government-backed full-time social action pilot, a point that the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, spoke about in positive terms. It is certainly a well-intentioned proposal, but given the lack of a clear evidence base and feedback from young people, we do not think that there is sufficient evidence for a separate full-time social action fund. Instead, we suggest that full-time social action providers who are interested in running such a pilot should apply for open funding streams such as the Home Office’s £22 million Early Intervention Fund or the £40 million #iwill Fund, jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Big Lottery Fund. As noble Lords will be aware, we back a number of high-quality programmes for young people. We have also recently published the Civil Society Strategy which has been mentioned. It sets out a vision for the next 10 years and the vital role that young people can play in tackling challenges and creating a better future.

The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, asked who would be able to translate the good will into practicalities, which is a fair question. The Government are running a large number of programmes to support youth social action, ranging from the National Citizen Service to the #iwill Fund, which I have just mentioned. I can elaborate further on this in a letter should I need to do so.

Our flagship policy is the National Citizen Service, which again was mentioned by various speakers, including the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson. However, I certainly note the reservations that were raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Barker. It is a programme that is open to all young people aged 15 to 17 and is designed to deliver a concentrated programme of positive activities, personal development and social action for them. I am pleased to say that so far, nearly 500,000 young people from all social backgrounds have taken part in the NCS. Together they have given over 12 million hours of volunteer time. We also know that NCS graduates give back an additional 6.3 hours of volunteering per month, compared to their peers who have not taken part in the programme.

I want to address a number of questions that were raised about the NCS, which I felt was an important focus of this debate. The noble Baroness, Lady Barker, asked whether in the short term the NCS programme is worth it. In her view it is expensive when compared with other programmes, making up 95% of the Office for Civil Society’s funding for young people. However, consecutive independent evaluations show that the programme consistently delivers positive impacts against its core objectives. I am not expecting the noble Baroness to agree with that, but that is where we are coming from. She also said that the NCS Trust is making efforts to reduce both its overhead and more general costs, as well as improving the relationships it has with the voluntary sector. Perhaps I may go a little further and say that we are working with the trust to create efficiencies and drive down costs, delivering better value for money for the taxpayer. We are also encouraging a wide range of organisations, including voluntary organisations, to express their interest during an NCS recommissioning bidding process. There is work to be done, which I hope is of some reassurance to the noble Baroness.

What the Minister just said spoke to a thought. I thought that the whole point of the Bill that we passed two years ago was to create the NCS as an independent body. So when he said “we are working with them” to do this, that and the next thing, including reducing costs, can he describe what mechanism the Government have for that independent body?

When the Minister writes to me, will he set out in some detail who commissions the evaluation of the NCS Trust, and what the brief is for that evaluation? Is it a stand-alone evaluation?

Those are both very fair questions. As the noble Lord and the noble Baroness probably know, I was not involved in that Bill. I shall write to them, because it is important to set out precisely what the Bill said about the relationship between the Government and the setting up of the NCS and where we are now, which I would argue should be the same. Let me, without making any commitments, clarify what is meant by “we”. I suspect that the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, and the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, will know a lot more about the relationship that was set up. It is important that we get that right.

The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, had a few reservations about the NCS, saying that he thought that it was limited in reaching out to hard-to-reach young people and that it had not been scaled up. The NCS aids social cohesion. Eight out of 10 participants felt more positive about people from different backgrounds participating after the NCS was set up. Social mixing is a core aim of the NCS and, as I said earlier, nearly 500,000 young people have taken part. By the way, just to reassure the Committee, it is the fastest growing youth movement in a century, so surely there must be some good coming out of it—I hope so.

We are supporting young people to participate in social action by backing the #iwill campaign run by Step Up To Serve. This campaign is mobilising business, philanthropists, the voluntary sector and institutions to make social action a part of life for all 10 to 20 year- olds. To support this, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, we are working with other funders to create new opportunities for young people to participate in social action. The £40 million #iwillFund, has to date partnered with 20 match funders and has estimated that it will create 650,000 new opportunities for young people.

The noble Baroness, Lady Scott, asked whether we can work with the DWP to give jobcentres clearer guidance to recognise volunteering hours. That is a fair point. The DWP already recognises that volunteering can help young people develop vital skills for work. Unemployed people claiming jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit are required to spend a certain amount of time searching for work, as we know. Outside this, they can spend as many hours as they like volunteering. The DWP has also committed to update guidance to job coaches around their ability to provide additional, discretionary flexibility to claimants.

A note has come from behind me which may be helpful, about how the NCS and the DCMS work together. We are making the NCS an arm’s-length body. We are working with it on the basis that we are ensuring its accountability to Parliament while ensuring that it retains its independence. I think I need to embellish that in a letter—I see the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, nodding. That is an indication that we want to provide clarity on this.

In conclusion, the Government are providing people up and down the country with a range of opportunities to take part in their communities. It would not be right to conclude this debate without mentioning the important role that Scouts and Guides play, in the great tradition of Baden-Powell—the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, raised this point. Young people who join these and other uniformed organisations participate in weekly activities, contribute to their communities and develop key skills, such as teamwork, character and resilience. On Monday, the Government announced £5 million of new investment to create an additional 5,500 places for young people from disadvantaged communities. This will help more young people access these groups, participate in their communities and reach their full potential.

Committee adjourned at 7.29 pm.