The Department of Culture Media and Sport has announced that the Chair of the Government’s review into full-time social action will be Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid.
The Review, announced in December, was set-up to consider whether the Government should take action to encourage more young people to undertake a ‘year of service’, mirroring successful schemes in the US, Germany and France.
Young people currently undertaking a year of voluntary service in the UK, like those volunteering with City Year UK, are unfairly categorised as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). This means they are denied access to National Insurance Contributions, sick pay and personal development training, amongst other rights.
The announcement comes as a poll commissioned by City Year UK, found that over 90% of 16-60 year-olds think a recognised programme of full-time voluntary ‘national service’ should be on offer for young people in Britain.
Sophie Livingstone, Chief Executive of City Year UK, said:
“I am delighted to see Steve Holliday named as the Chair of the Government’s Review into full-time social action. He has been a strong supporter of young people making a difference through full-time social action and it is a fantastic statement of intent from the Government to confirm such a respected business figure in this role.
“We look forward to working with Steve and all of the review panelists over the coming months to explore the potential of full-time social action and convey the importance of a legal status for full-time volunteers.”
City Year UK’s campaign for inclusion of full-time social action on the government’s agenda has attracted support from MPs including Dan Jarvis and from Sean Anstee, Conservative Leader for Trafford Council and candidate for the first democratically-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.
Dan Jarvis MP said: “It is vital that as a society we support and encourage all young people to serve their community. Social action should be a life-long mission and programmes like City Year UK help instill that value into young people.
“It is encouraging that the Government has chosen such a prominent figure to lead the review. I hope this is an indication of its ambition for full-time social action in the UK.”
Sean Anstee, who recently announced his policy of introducing full-time social action for Greater Manchester’s young people, said: “I believe that a year of service can be turned into a lifetime of opportunities for our young people, which is why I’ve made it one of my main policies in my campaign for Mayor of Greater Manchester.
“Through full-time social action, young adults become work ready whilst making a difference in their communities and boosting public services.”