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Evaluation of National Citizen Service

Researchers: Liz Clery, Mehul Kotecha
Published: May 2013


This study evaluated the short term impact on young people who took part in National Citizen Service pilots in 2012 and 2011.

National Citizen Service gives all 16 and 17 year olds the chance to take part in activities that build skills for work and life and culminates in a team project to help the community.  The Government hopes that engaging young people in National Citizen Service will result in a more cohesive and responsible society.

You can watch the stories of two NCS participants: 

Team building and leadership 

Making a difference


We identified four outcomes for young people that might lead to a more cohesive and responsible society. They were

  • communication, teamwork and leadership and transition to adulthood, where we found a range of positive impacts;
  • and social mixing and community involvement, where we found a small number of positive impacts, although change in this area was mixed.

A large majority (90%) of young people enjoyed National Citizen Service and thought it was worthwhile, because it had

  • given them the chance to meet people they wouldn't normally mix with;
  • given them the chance to develop skills for the future;
  • and made them proud of what they had achieved.


The evaluation consisted of four stages:

  • a process evaluation: qualitative case studies involving depth interviews, deliberative workshops and video ethnography;
  • an impact survey: a baseline postal survey followed by two telephone/web surveys with participants and a matched comparison group in 2011, followed by another baseline postal survey and web survey in 2012;
  • economic analysis that measured cost effectiveness and cost-benefit calculations and benchmarked National Citizen Service against other programmes;
  • and analysis of how National Citizen Service was represented in news and social media.

Read the 2011 report

Read the 2012 report