I think someone is 'playing with words' here. Community service has been hijacked as penal, a way of punishing miscreants. But real community service is what thousands of us have done for years, helping our fellow citizens without pay.
What I'm saying is that National Service was compulsory as well, and didn't turn us into a nation of criminals. The idea of some form of national service for the young has been mooted for years - I see nothing wrong with it, as long as it instills some community pride, and gives something back.
'Help in the Community' as been around for quite a number of years, in fact it is a part of the already government (you and I) funded scheme run within the probation services.
If the GB scheme is part of the next election's manifest, then let's hope the mathematics for administration have been worked out correctly, and its not self reliant on local tax, as a curriculum for further educational needs.
Other points to perhaps consider, would be whether the unions or similar organisations would object, on the grounds of taking work away from the unemployed!.