Role details

National Citizen Service Trust (NCS) Chair

Application deadline 17 February 2023


National Citizen Service Trust
Sponsor department
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
Change Management, Technology / Digital, Major Projects, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
£40000 per annum
Length of term
3 years
Application deadline
7pm on 17 February 2023

Apply for this role

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    20 January 2023

  2. Application deadline

    7pm on 17 February 2023

  3. Sifting date

    6 March 2023

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    10 April 2023

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • Demonstrable experience of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to successfully secure support for a national organisation’s mission.
  • Proven track record in developing a strategy to drive impact and delivery in a recognised national/international commercial, third sector or public sector organisation.
  • Ability to build support, and affinity across political parties, Whitehall, sectors and the media.
  • Ability to Chair a board, with excellent communication skills, and a strong understanding of corporate governance in the public sector.
  • Ability to lead through change and uncertainty, with the ability to adapt their approach in different contexts.
  • An understanding of and interest in the aims and objectives of the NCS Trust, and an advocate of young people with a commitment to promoting social cohesion, social mobility and engaging communities across the UK.

Desirable criteria

  • Experience of leading the creative, financial and operational challenges of digital innovation in service provision.
  • Experience of leading organisational transformation.

Role description


NCS exists to engage, unite and empower young people, building their confidence so they can go out there and achieve their dreams, no matter where they’re from or their background. NCS helps young people become world ready and work-ready, and is committed to building a more cohesive society through ‘a country of connected, confident, caring citizens where everybody feels at home’. We believe this can be achieved through

  • Social mobility - investing in the country’s future talent and helping them to become ‘the next greatest generation’, regardless of background

  • Social inclusion - respecting and celebrating differences, whilst uniting behind values that bind society together

  • Social good - serving the community and society at large as active citizens

Role description

The appointment of a new Chair is an exciting opportunity to play a crucial role in the delivery of this mission. The successful individual will be responsible for leading the Board in steering and developing a new strategy, ensuring that core services continue whilst also overseeing and supporting organisational transformation. See the essential and additional criteria sections below for an overview of the skills and experience required.

Time Commitment

Board members are asked to attend around four main board meetings, plus a strategy day, each year.  The sub-committees meet between two and five times a year. There may also be support required on an ad hoc basis for high priority projects. As Chair, the successful candidate will be required to put in additional time to work closely with the CEO, develop the Board, and work with the Company and Secretary to plan Board activities.

Organisation description

NCS is focused on 15-17-year-olds, young people poised on the cusp of adulthood. It brings people together from different backgrounds and builds essential skills, supporting them to have the confidence and resilience to make a difference in their community. 

NCS is entering a new chapter. The environment in which NCS Trust operates has changed substantially since NCS was founded in 2009. Young people’s needs, hopes and priorities are different. In response, we are evolving our strategy and services. We are the main partner delivering the government’s National Youth Guarantee, to help level up opportunities and ensure that young people are world-ready and work-ready.

NCS Trust has been allocated budget of over £170m for financial years 2022/23 - 2024/5 and has a clearly defined set of priorities:

  • Deliver high quality and high impact services in 2022;

  • Prepare for, commission and deliver the new national offer from 2023;

  • Build capabilities and strengthen collaboration with the youth sector; and

  • Continue to transform the Trust.

The Trust is committed to strengthening its digital capability in the coming months, in order to support the successful implementation of its strategy.

NCS Trust is currently consolidating and confirming, in collaboration with DCMS and youth organisations, the details of the Trust’s new line of services and delivery to meet its strategic objectives and ensure its offering meets the needs and priorities of young people and the youth sector. Currently, we deliver 5 main service lines:
  • Summer and autumn residentials: 3-4 night residential with 30 hours+ social action project;

  • Changemakers: Regular community action groups in every local authority;

  • Skills Booster: content delivered in schools to support personal development; and

  • Connect: Digital hub with range of youth-led content.

Around three quarters of a million young people have now benefitted from an NCS experience. For every £1 spent on the programme, £3.05 in economic benefit was generated (2019 data).

In 2021, in-person programmes took place in summer and autumn, benefitting nearly 20,000 young people. “Change-maker” groups, set up in almost every local authority in England, facilitated over 60,000 hours of social action. Our ‘skills booster’ programme delivered in-school sessions to around 18,000 young people, on key topics designed to build skills for work and life. Nearly 350 young people took part in ‘future makers’, our employability programme, through the Government’s Kickstart scheme and NCS Year of Service pilot. NCS also encourages democratic engagement, boosting youth participation in politics by 12%.  

NCS has a greater positive impact on certain priority groups including those from minority backgrounds, those in care and those on Free School Meals.

Board composition

NCS was established in its current form by the National Citizen Service Trust Act (2017) ‘to provide or arrange for the provision of programmes for young people in England with the purpose of enabling participants from different backgrounds to work together in local communities to participate in projects to benefit society, and enhancing communication, leadership and team-working skills of participants’ and is overseen by the NCS Trust Royal Charter Body. The NCS Royal Charter establishes the Board and sub-committees and its obligations. NCS is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is funded by grant-in-aid from that Department. efficiently and independently exercises its functions as set out in the NCS Act 2017, the Royal Charter and the organisation’s Framework Agreement with Government.

Main responsibilities and tasks:

  • Provision of high quality and impactful programmes for young people;

  • Sustaining and growing a thriving delivery network;

  • Demonstrating and delivering long term impact around social mobility, social cohesion, and social engagement;

  • Meeting agreed key performance indicators around participation, quality, cost, and broad based support;

  • Working with board colleagues to set the operational strategy, to deliver ministerial policy objectives and provide advice, challenge, counsel and support for the Chief Executive and Executive Team in achieving NCS’ objectives;

  • Scrutinising the Executive and supporting the Accounting Officer in ensuring the organisation uses its resources efficiently and effectively, acting as a responsible steward of public funds;

  • Ensuring that the views of key stakeholders are taken into account in Board discussions and decisions; and 

  • Raising the profile of NCS at networking events and/or via digital media wherever possible.

All members of the Board are required to understand and embrace the seven principles of public life as defined by the Nolan Principles. 

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Application and selection process

How to apply

To apply, please send:

  • A CV - A CV of no more than two sides of A4; this should provide details of your education and qualifications, employment history, directorships, membership of professional bodies and details of any publications or awards;

  • Supporting statement - A supporting statement of no more than two sides of A4 setting out how you meet the criteria for appointment, as set out in the person specification for the role;

  • Declaring Conflicts - Information relating to any outside interests or reputational issues; please complete the attached Declaration of Conflicts of Interest Form

  • Diversity monitoring information - please follow this link. This allows us to see if there are any unfair barriers to becoming a public appointee and whether there are any changes that we could make to encourage a more diverse field to apply. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be used as part of the selection process and will not be seen by the interview panel;

  • Disability Confident – please state if you want to be considered for the disability confident scheme;

  • Reasonable adjustments - requests for reasonable adjustments that you would like to the application process (if applicable);

Completed applications should be sent to: Please put ‘NCS Chair application’ in the subject line.

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please the campaign manager Joseph Cox at

DCMS is unable to provide feedback at the shortlist stage due to the volume of applications we receive. Feedback can be provided if requested to candidates following the interview stage.

The Advisory Assessment Panel reserves the right to only consider applications that contain all of the elements listed above, and that arrive before the published deadline for applications.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.
The confirmed AAP for this Panel is:
  • Chair: Becky Morrison/ Hannah Malik (DCMS Directors for Civil Society and Youth);
  • Senior Independent Panel Member: Elizabeth Buchanan; and
  • Additional Panel Member: Mike Crowhurst.

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. 
As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

Holders of public office are expected to adhere to and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life These are:

  1. SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends;
  2. INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties;
  3. OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit;
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office;
  5. OPENNESS - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands;
  6. HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest;
  7. LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or serve in any one post for more than ten years

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. 

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the DCMS public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at ( They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.
The DCMS privacy policy is also attached.

Contact details

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please contact the Campaign Manager on