The government has not decided how much funding it will provide the National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust for 2022, while it reviews youth service provision.
The NCS Trust is the Royal Charter body that oversees the government's main youth programme for England, focused on 16 to 17 year-olds.
Its most recent annual report for 2019-2020 was published at the end of last week. This reveals that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has agreed enough to deliver its programme activities for summer and autumn 2021, but funding for a 2022 programme has not been decided.
Last month the government began a youth sector engagement exercise.
The NCS Trust's annual report notes that the organisation "almost wholly dependent each year upon receiving government funding", and says "the board members understand that there is a possibility that the review may recommend that the services delivered by NCS do not continue to be delivered in the same form in the future".
It adds: "In the opinion of the board members, including the accounting officer, this constitutes a material uncertainty that could have the potential to cast doubt on the Trust's ability to continue as a going concern."
£150m government grant
There is a possibility that the review may recommend that the services delivered by the NCS Trust do not continue to be delivered in the same form in the future.
It received a £158.6m grant-in-aid from DCMS for 2019-20. The NCS Trust’s other income amounted to £3.54m and total expenditure for the year was £156.4m.
Total expenditure includes programme costs of £119.2m, staff costs of £14.4m and other costs amounting to £22.8m.
The NCS Trust had 229 permanent staff and contractors in 2019 to 2020. It’s first chief executive, Michael Lynas, left in March 2020 with the new chief executive, Mark Gifford, immediately taking the reins.
Gifford’s annual salary was £145,000 to £150,000 and he took up the role on 2 March 2020.
The chair of the board is appointed by DCMS. This year, Iain McNicol and Paul Cleal were paid £11,000 and £10,600 respectively.
The median gender pay gap was 7.2%.
NCS Trust did not hit participant target
The target for the 2019 calendar year was to exceed 100,000 participants, and 91,500 participants took part in an NCS programme in 2019.
Costs of unfilled places fell year-on-year from £9.5m to £5.0m, although in the financial year prior the NCS Trust missed its target of 100,000 by just 326 places.
There was also a legal dispute with one of the Trust’s providers around unfilled places on the summer programme.
Following the administration of The Challenge and the ensuing legal proceedings, DCMS and HMT approval was gained to enable the NCS Trust to make a one off final contractual settlement payment of £2.8m.
This reflects the potential amount which may have been claimed as irrecoverable costs for unfilled places.
As details emerge about the bitter dispute between The Challenge and its main funder, NCS Trust, neither side comes out of it with much credit, says Kirsty Weakley.