National Citizen Service announces new partners as part of 'NCS 2.0'

28 Oct 2019 News

The National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust has revealed its new partners, who will deliver the programme from next year.

It is set to expand its delivery network to include hundreds of partners in order to provide better value and experience for young people across the country. 

Those selected to deliver on the NCS Trust’s work include charities, activity centres, football clubs and local cricket clubs.

The NCS Trust said programme costs are expected to reduce by 30 per cent in real terms by 2024 when compared with 2016-17. It said this saving has been achieved “through economies of scale, removing duplication and reducing overheads.” 

The cost for 2016-17 per participant was £1,783. The programme has been criticised in the past for being too expensive. 

NCS is a residential youth activity programme mainly funded by the government. It was launched in 2010 by then prime minister, David Cameron, as part of the “Big Society” initiative. It aims to improve social cohesion, mobility and engagement among young people. 

The NCS Trust will now manage delivery of the programme in the South West, North East and London. It will have four partners overseeing delivery in six other regions.

These partners are Reed in Partnership, Ingeus, and EFL Trust, all of which have delivered the programme previously, and a new partner, Manchester-based social enterprise The Growth Company. 

The NCS Trust has recently rebranded and said the cost of the campaign over the next three years will be just under £3m, or just under £1m per year. 

The scheme has faced claims from the Local Government Association that it is undersubscribed, and it is now being hit with legal issues. Until recently The Challenge was the largest NCS provider, but the charity has now filed a legal challenge against the NCS Trust. 

The National Youth Agency (NYA), which was previously a delivery partner with the NCS, did not bid to be a delivery partner. The NYA said its annual turnover fell below the level the required to make a bid. For the financial year ending March 2018, the NYA had an income of 4.6m and spent 4.5m.

‘We have worked hard to further improve our value for money’

Michael Lynas, chief executive of NCS Trust, said “I’m incredibly proud of everything that NCS has achieved in the last ten years. As we move into our second decade, NCS 2.0 marks an important milestone which will deepen our social impact.

“We have worked hard to further improve our value for money by reducing costs in the back office and achieving economies of scale. These savings will be reinvested in offering more opportunities for young people and expanding and empowering our local delivery network.

“We are excited about working with so many fantastic new organisations in our growing local network, including local youth clubs, football clubs, cricket clubs and other great youth organisations. New local action groups led by NCS graduates and supported by community engagement partners will ensure NCS is having a year-round impact in every local authority area up and down the country.”

Mark Hughes, chief executive of The Growth Company, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been awarded this contract for NCS delivery across the North West. It’s a fantastic opportunity that will enable us, in collaboration with our local delivery partners, to reach more than 15,000 15-17 year olds across the region each year. I’m confident it will complement our existing provision for young adults and make a real and lasting difference to those whose futures will be greatly enhanced by their NCS journey.”

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “Building connections and feeling part of a local community can bring huge benefits for young adults, both personally and academically. So, I’m delighted that NCS will be funding a network of small, local organisations here in Greater Manchester and across the country to deliver great experiences that truly reflect local priorities and resonate with young adults.”

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