British society is changing. Technological, economic and cultural issues are leading to far-reaching shifts in how individuals, families and communities live and work together.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement today invites contributions to its new inquiry which will investigate the legal rights and responsibilities for citizens of the UK, the barriers to citizenship and what can be done to support and encourage civic engagement.
The referendums on Scottish independence and Brexit, the recent attacks in Manchester and London by people, some of them born in Britain, an apparent low level of confidence in the effectiveness of the political system, not to mention concern regarding sections of society that feel ‘left behind’ – all of these point to the need to reflect on those values, principles and processes that might play a role in bringing people together and promoting engaged citizenship.
The Committee is seeking written evidence from as wide an audience as possible and welcomes evidence from anyone with an interest in the topic.
Questions which the inquiry will aim to cover:
1. What does citizenship and civic engagement mean in the 21st century?
2. What should be the role of education in encouraging good citizenship?
3. Do voluntary citizenship programmes such as the National Citizen Service do a good job of creating active citizens, and should they be compulsory?
4. What are the values that all of us who live in Britain should share and support?
5. Why do so many communities and groups feel “left behind”?
6. What is the relationship between citizenship and civic engagement on the one hand and social cohesion and integration on the other?
Committee Chairman Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts said:
“British Society has experienced many changes in recent years and this has put new stresses and strains upon it. Citizenship and civic engagement are a vital part of the “glue” that maintains a cohesive and tolerant society. This Committee has been established to investigate citizenship in the UK, what it means and whether it should change. We also want to find out if there are barriers preventing people from being more involved, both locally and nationally.
“We hope to hear from people all over the country who have an interest in this topic, who work with communities who are disengaged as well as from people who are disengaged themselves.”
The Committee is inviting written evidence on the issue, to be received by 8 September 2017.