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400 jobs affected as largest NCS provider confirms departure from the scheme

JANUARY 13, 2020

The National Citizen Service Trust, the royal charter body that runs the scheme on behalf of the government, confirmed that it would no longer contract its largest provider, The Challenge, after it had been 'unable to reach an agreement on a requirement to use a shared IT system that ensured value for money and protected young people’s data'.

The Challenge had been contracted to run the programme for 16 and 17-year-olds in London, the south east and the West Midlands until December this year, contracts estimated to have been worth more than £60m a year to the charity.

A joint statement on Monday from Bill Ronald and Oliver Lee, chair and chief executive respectively of The Challenge, said that despite being in discussions for several months with the NCS Trust about NCS provision for 2020 onwards that "Regrettably, we have been unable to resolve certain important contractual issues that adversely affect The Challenge’s ability to operate on that future landscape."

As the largest provider of the government’s National Citizen Service, The Challenge has confirmed it “remains contracted to delivering summer and autumn NCS programmes in 2019 until their contract ends in December” but thereafter it will play no further part in the scheme and it is feared that about 400 out of 450 jobs will now be at risk as a result of losing the NCS contracts. 

This news is a bitter blow for the many youth workers who have been employed to deliver NCS programmes following redundancies and job losses as a result of youth service cuts.


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