1.This report is the fifth using the new follow-up procedure recommended by our July 2019 report on the review of House of Lords Committees.1 In this report, we examine the progress which has been made by the Government, Ofsted and key stakeholders on the implementation of some of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement in its 2018 report, The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century.2
2.The Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement was appointed on 29 June 2017 “to consider citizenship and civic engagement.”3 The Committee was chaired by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts and the original report was published on 18 April 2018. The Government response was received on 28 June 2018 and the report was debated on 19 November 2018.4
3.The 2018 report outlined the concept of the ‘civic journey’. This was defined as “the manner in which an individual’s relationship with the state and with their fellow citizens, where they might live or how they view their position in the world, tends to change with the passage of time.”5 The report ascertained that there may be variation in people’s expectations in terms of “rights and protections” from citizenship and their ability to contribute to society depending on their life stage and capacity.6 The report concluded that the civic journey framework was a useful concept for considering cross-government coordination. It stated that: “Thinking in terms of the civic journey should also have significant benefits in terms of joined-up Government … political leadership, government planning and strategic policy-making.” The report warned that the absence of a coherent government strategy towards citizenship could lead to confusion over accountability and “unrealised civic potential”, and noted that changes in policy were associated with frequent machinery of Government changes.7
4.The 2018 report also found that “the United Kingdom’s approach to citizenship has in many policy areas become synonymous with an arguably over-narrow and individualised emphasis.”8 It noted that there was an important distinction between defining citizenship in terms of “volunteering, social action, or learning facts” and “learning about practising democracy in the sense of political engagement and democratic participation.”9 The report defined the “citizenship challenge” as “the cultivation of shared British values, respect for diversity and an understanding of what British citizenship entails—rights and responsibilities, giving and taking, talking and listening, putting in and taking out.”10 The report was presented as a “framework for cultivating a sense of belonging, for defining and supporting a model of citizenship that emphasises what we have in common” and offered a “starting point for a national conversation” of what the Committee deemed to be “possibly the defining challenge of our present times.”11
5.The 2018 report made recommendations on a wide range of policy areas, some of which are devolved. Education is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Immigration and the constitution are reserved and excepted matters.12 The 2018 report stated that “whilst some recommendations apply only to some parts of the UK, we hope that the devolved administrations will find them useful.”13 This report echoes that sentiment.
6.Following the 2021 Cabinet reshuffle and a machinery of government change, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) was renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The Prime Minister said this change was intended to “embed levelling up commitments and policy on governance in the United Kingdom and elections within a single Department which already manages relationships with local communities, local government and the housing sector.”14 The Secretary of State for the DLUHC was also appointed as the Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, with responsibility for leading “coordination with the devolved administrations on the Prime Minister’s behalf.”15
7.On 3 April 2019, Lord Hodgson wrote to the late Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to follow-up on the report’s recommendations. On 31 January 2020, the then Chair of the Liaison Committee, The Rt Hon The Lord McFall of Alcluith, wrote to Mr Brokenshire’s successor, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, regarding the Committee’s recommendations and with reference to the previous correspondence between Lord Hodgson and Mr Brokenshire.16 Lord Greenhalgh, the then Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities, responded on 28 April 2020.17
8.Lord Hodgson wrote to the Chair of the Liaison Committee on 20 January 2021 making the case for follow-up.18 At its meeting on 15 November 2021 the Liaison Committee considered the proposal and agreed that follow-up work would commence in February 2022.19
9.The Liaison Committee held three oral evidence sessions on 10 February 2022, and were joined by four former members of the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement: Lord Hodgson (former Chair), Baroness Barker, Lord Blunkett and Baroness Eaton. We also received a number of written evidence submissions and are grateful to all our witnesses.
10.This report focuses on three areas:
11.We consider each of these in turn in chapter two. Our conclusions and recommendations are summarised at the end of this report. We look forward to the Government’s response.
1 Liaison Committee, Review of House of Lords Investigative and Scrutiny Committees: towards a new thematic committee structure (6th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 398)
2 Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement, The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century (Report of Session 2017–2019, HL Paper 118)
3 Liaison Committee, New investigative committees in the 2017–18 Session (2nd Report, Session 2016–2017, HL Paper 144)
4 HL Deb, 19 November 2018, cols 68-112
12 Cabinet Office, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Northern Ireland Office, and Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (8 May 2019): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/devolution-of-powers-to-scotland-wales-and-northern-ireland [accessed 10 March 2022]
14 HC Deb, 23 September 2021, cols 19WS-20WS
15 Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, ‘Ministerial role: Minister for Intergovernmental Relations’: https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers/minister-for-intergovernmental-relations [accessed 10 March 2022]
16 Letter from The Rt Hon The Lord McFall of Alcluith, Chair of the Liaison Committee to The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (31 January 2020): https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/64/documents/706/default/
17 Letter from Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities to The Rt Hon The Lord McFall of Alcluith, Chair of the Liaison Committee (28 April 2020): https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/4133/documents/40824/default/
18 Letter from Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts to The Rt Hon The Lord McFall of Alcluith, Senior Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Liaison Committee, regarding follow-up to the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement (20 January 2021)
19 Liaison Committee, Decisions document (15 November 2021): https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8015/documents/82664/default/