To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the validity of the decision by the National Citizen Service Trust to withdraw NCS contracts from The Challenge; and what steps her Department and the Cabinet Office plan to take to help (a) resolve those issues that The Challenge reportedly raised with her Department on the National Citizen Service Trust before the withdrawal of its contracts and (b) maintain NCS (i) jobs and (ii) places.
The NCS Trust are the contracting authority for the NCS programme and have operational accountability for the NCS delivery chain. As such, procurement issues are a contractual matter between the NCS Trust and The Challenge, with DCMS being regularly informed. The procurement process for the re-commissioning of NCS contracts, carried out by the NCS Trust in 2019, was approved by both DCMS and HMT.
In regards to the issues raised by The Challenge, NCS Trust is an arms-length body of DCMS and, in line with standard complaint procedures, DCMS is investigating the matters raised and will address any findings as appropriate.
All NCS delivery regions have been successfully contracted for, to make sure there is minimal loss in NCS participation levels from 2020 onwards.