More trouble ahead for NCS Trust
JANUARY 21, 2020
With The Challenge already suing the NCS trust for £22m, the DCMS has revealed that it has received a separate complaint from a small NCS delivery partner.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has revealed that it received a second complaint about the National Citizen Service Trust from another organisation involved in delivering the young people's scheme but no details are currently in the public sphere.
Whilst more than 400 staff at The Challenge face uncertain futures when its current contracts expire at the end of the year the government has also been accused of showing a "worrying" lack of scrutiny over the potential loss of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money in the dispute between the charity that runs the National Citizen Service and its main contractor.
This has prompted concerns at The Challenge about the speed and scope of the investigation by the DCMS, which awarded the trust a grant of £185.7m in 2017/18.
An email response to the DCMS sent by The Challenge's trustees and Oliver Lee, the chief executive, said: "We are very surprised to discover your continued inability to scrutinise the taxpayer money, which your department controls and attributes through the NCS programme.
"Can it genuinely be that the NCS Trust is beyond your department's scrutiny? We find this very worrying.
"We are sorry and surprised that you are unable to become involved more effectively and rapidly in this situation."
A source at The Challenge said it had not lodged a formal complaint with the trust because matters had escalated beyond this point now the two parties were in legal dispute.
A DCMS spokesman stated that whilst every aspect of the NCS provider's complaint about the NCS Trust will be examined in line with standard complaint procedures, they would not "provide an ongoing commentary while the issues are being explored."