Transfer Schemes

Part of National Citizen Service Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Rob Wilson Rob Wilson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 9:45 am, 24th January 2017

Clause 2 introduces schedule 1, and I would like to deal with both provisions together. Clause 2 contains power for the Secretary of State to make a transfer scheme for transferring the assets, liabilities and staff of the current NCS Trust to the new body being established by the royal charter. Without this clause, the transfer to the new body would not be overseen by Government. The existing trust would essentially have to oversee its own transfer, issuing contracts and reemploying its staff which would obviously be extremely longwinded and very inefficient. Schedule 1 has been drafted to ensure Government can oversee a transition that is managed effectively and over an appropriate period of time. The trust will change from a community interest company to a public body: it is right that Government take responsibility for its set-up to ensure an orderly transition with all the necessary safeguards.

Schedule 1 contains further detail on the transfer powers and is essential to achieve a smooth transition from community interest company to royal charter body. The royal charter will incorporate a new charter body, but we want the NCS Trust to transition seamlessly from one form into the other.

First, schedule 1 allows the Secretary of State to make a staff transfer scheme to transfer the staff of the community interest company to the royal charter body. The transfer will follow the principles of TUPE regulations as appropriate, but giving effect to the transfer via a specific scheme allows a straightforward and orderly approach to the transfer. That is good for the staff and good for the business of NCS. The scheme will ensure that terms and conditions for employees are maintained as appropriate. The schedule also includes a power for the scheme to provide for employees to be regarded as having been in continuous employment, despite the break between bodies. The schedule requires the Secretary of State to be satisfied that staff and other people likely to be affected by the transfer, as well as their representatives, have been consulted before making a transfer scheme. The Secretary of State must have regard to the result of that consultation in determining whether to make the transfer scheme.

Secondly, schedule 1 allows the Secretary of State to make a property transfer scheme that can give effect to the transfer of property, rights and liabilities of the community interest body to the charter body. The scheme would allow for continuity of business for the community interest company. In particular, the contracts between the NCS Trust and its regional delivery partners can be transferred using this power. In summary, the schedule provides powers that will allow an orderly transition between the community interest company and the royal charter body, with all the necessary safeguards to ensure that employees and third parties are not unfairly prejudiced by the transfer.