Business plan

National Citizen Service Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 24th January 2017.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Rob Wilson Rob Wilson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Clause 5 requires the trust to produce a business plan for each financial year, setting out its strategic planning for the year ahead. This works alongside clause 6, which requires the trust to report on its activities once the year is over. The clause specifies that the business plan must relate to the exercise of the trust’s functions, which are set out in the royal charter—article 3 for those who want a reference—and referenced in clause 1 of the Bill. The document must outline the trust’s strategic priorities for that year and the main activities it has planned.

The clause is not overly prescriptive. The trust oversees hundreds of relationships in the private, public and voluntary sectors. It works with hundreds of providers who deliver to tens of thousands of young people. Its activities are varied and will change and evolve as the programme develops. As long as the trust demonstrates how it plans to fulfil its duties set by the Bill and the charter, Parliament can be assured of two things: first, at the start of the year it will be able to assess the trust’s strategic thinking and check that it is setting appropriate goals; and secondly, at the end of each year it will be able to refer to the business plan when reviewing the trust’s annual report. A thorough picture from planning to delivery will be available.

The trust will be independent in its day-to-day business, using its expertise in working with young people. The clause allows the trust to produce its own business plan. The trust is responsible for co-ordinating NCS and setting its own activities, being held to account for its actions by the need to report transparently and routinely. The clause requires that the business plan be submitted by 1 June each financial year. That allows the trust sufficient time to produce a detailed document but ensures that Parliament has sight of it before the trust’s busiest time of delivery begins, which is the summer programme running approximately from June to August. The Secretary of State will be responsible for laying the business plan before Parliament. We also expect the plan to be made publicly available by the trust.

Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Civil Society)

One of the problems with such a consensual Bill is that I find myself in the happy position of agreeing with what the Government are proposing. I am sorry that the Minister has had a lot of talking to do, but we are happy with the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 5 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 6