The Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she will re-run the recruitment process to appoint the chair of the National Citizen Service after the last campaign did not find the right candidate.
A statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about the government’s flagship volunteering programme said that the decision was taken after “carefully considering the field of candidates who applied through an open recruitment exercise that was launched in July 2017”.
A new campaign is due to be launched in due course, which will be focused towards “identifying a candidate with appropriate commercial experience, or experience of setting direction and supporting an organisation to develop”.
DCMS said: “Government is committed to the continued development of the NCS programme. The new chair will lead NCS through a period of organisational change, so it is vital that we find the right candidate for the job.”
An evaluation of the NCS for the year 2016, which was produced at the end of 2017, found that the estimated costs of the volunteering programme was £185.6m. However, the evaluation concluded that the economic benefits of the programme outweighed the costs, at £263.3m for the year.
In March last year the Public Accounts Committee published a critical report into the NCS where it was critical of the organisation’s lack of evidence of long-term impact, lack of transparency, high participation targets, the cost per place, and the lack of progress on recovering money paid out for places that were not filled.
A National Audit Office report into the NCS released in January 2017 found that it had missed key targets and said that it needed to reduce costs by 29 per cent. NAO had said the government was spending too much per participant, was not recruiting nearly enough people to hit its targets, and had spent over £10m paying for places which went unfilled. It said there was also no evidence that the NCS provided enduring benefits to attendees, and that "significant and critical" policy changes were now needed.
Last year a bill designed to make sure the NCS is delivered “efficiently, effectively and transparently” received Royal Assent.
The National Citizen Service Act 2017 enables the staff and assets of the NCS Trust transfer to a Royal Charter Body; allows government to provider grant-in-aid funding to the NCS Trust; requires the NCS Trust to publish a business plan at the start of each year and produce annual accounts and an Annual Report, ensuring accountability and transparency.