Shadow charities minister calls for answers after The Challenge collapses

Vicky Foxcroft says she wants to know how the NCS will deliver programmes in future

Vicky Foxcroft (Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images for Climate Coalition)
Vicky Foxcroft (Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images for Climate Coalition)

The shadow charities minister has called for "urgent answers" about the future of the National Citizen Service after the collapse of the programme’s former delivery partner The Challenge

Vicky Foxcroft, who is running as the Labour candidate for Lewisham Deptford in south-east London in the general election, said that attempts to get further information on NCS spending from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had been ignored.

Her comments come two days after The Challenge collapsed into administration. In August it lost a £60m contract with the NCS Trust to deliver NCS services.

The Challenge, which employs 210 people, launched a £22m legal claim last month against the NCS Trust after losing the contract, with The Challenge claiming that the trust’s software system was "inadequate and/or not fit for purpose".

A statement from the charity said it had raised concerns about the NCS’s contracts with the DCMS 16 days before The Challenge lost the contract, but nothing had been done by the government in response.

Foxcroft said: "The Challenge has been in touch with the DCMS time and again to raise their concerns about the NCS and funding. These should have been followed up, but instead their concerns were shoved under the carpet and ignored.

"We now need urgent answers about how the NCS is going to deliver its programmes in the future.

"I have also sent in several requests to the DCMS under the Freedom of Information Act about where NCS money is being spent, but these have all been ignored. These are questions that need addressing."

Foxcroft tweeted to the outgoing culture secretary Nicky Morgan, asking why nothing had been done to save The Challenge, though she had been made aware of the situation by the charity.

The NCS Trust pointed to a statement released earlier this year in which it announced that it was expanding its delivery network to include hundreds of new partner organisations and expected its delivery costs would fall by 30 per cent over the next five years

The DCMS said it was unable to comment because of the forthcoming general election.

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