OOne of the central elements of David Cameron's Prime Minister's legacy faces serious problems, accused of endangering hundreds of jobs and the hopes of thousands of young people.
The body that runs the National Citizen Service (NCS) – founded by Prime Minister Cameron in 2011 as a modern national service for school leavers – is being sued for $ 22 million. £ by its main service provider, having been forced to redundant staff and reduce the number of placements made.
In a letter to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports, Challenge President Bill Ronald accused NCS of wasting £ 5.5 million of Public funds to install an "unsuitable" computer system, which he said drove more than 10,000 young people did not enroll in NCS internships.
The four-week course for 16-year-olds would have included an outdoor residential course, a week at a university and community work designed by them specifically for their area.
The Challenge also accuses the NCS of exposing young people to "potentially lethal security risks" by using a "faulty medical assessment process" that does not record if the young people placed have medical problems, such as life-threatening allergies
In his letter, Ronald accused the NCS of "withdrawing from the The Challenge of Term Futures Agreements" worth 299 million pounds, forcing the charity to proceed with "layoffs". large scope".
These forced him to reduce his full-time workforce from 500 to 50.
The challenge now pursues NCS for breach of contract in seven UK regions, at the same time as a separate complaint for defamation.
The writ filed in the High Court is the culmination of a bitter and longstanding dispute between the charity and NCS.
Mr. Ronald also accused the NCS leaders of "failure, mismanagement, and bad behavior," contrary to his obligations under the Royal Charter.
He wrote to Morgan: "The Challenge continues to be subject to NCS Trust's (NCST) behavior, which blatantly violates the current contract. This gives the appearance of an organization that deliberately hides its own failure by using the Challenge as a scapegoat and passing on to our charity the cost, blame and operational hurdle arising from the mismanagement of the NCST. "
Mr. Ronald has accused the NCS of leaving £ 4 million of unpaid core contract payments for 2019 and refusing to "accept the catastrophic failures of his new centralized computer system."
In August, The Challenge lost a contract valued at more than £ 60 million a year to implement youth programs, a failure attributed to NCS.
In a statement, Oliver Lee, chief executive of The Challenge, said: "The Challenge has been engaged for several months with the trust and the DCMS to try to solve the serious problems resulting from the mismanagement of certain aspects of the NCS program by the trust in 2019. "
Mr. Lee added that The Challenge "remains committed to fulfilling our responsibilities with regard to the NCS 2019 Fall Program and to supporting future NCS vendors through a transfer process. slowly".
The NCS was launched by Mr. Cameron as part of the Big Society initiative of the Conservative coalition government – Liberal Democrats. In October 2016, following his resignation from the position of Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron became Chairman of the Board of Directors of NCS Trust.
A spokesman for NCS Trust said: "In July, we told the Challenge that we would not sign a contract with him for next year's NCS program because we could not get on with it. agreement with the charity on the contractual obligation to use a common computer system guaranteeing the value. for money, improves the customer experience and protects the data of young people.
"The Challenge was very dissatisfied with this decision and since then it has formulated what we consider to be false allegations about NCS Trust prior to launching this legal proceeding, which we intend to vigorously defend before the courts. law courts.
"Since we decided to end our relationship with The Challenge, we have completed a recommissioning designed to provide optimal value to taxpayers and an even better experience for young people participating in our flagship youth program."
A spokesman for DCMS said: "We have received a complaint from a NCS supplier regarding NCS trust.
"In accordance with standard complaint handling procedures, we will investigate the issues raised and review any findings, if any."