back to article One of Blighty's most-loved charities hands £46m to one of Blighty's least-loved outsourcers

The National Trust, one of the UK's largest charities and beloved of many a middle-class day-tripper, has handed a £46m contract to everyone's favourite outsourcer, Capita. The deal is a five-year extension for customer experience services, which Capita has provided since 2009. That includes handling new membership, renewals …

  1. tiggity Silver badge


    Loved by some, hated by others.

    IMHO NT & Crapita are perfect bed fellows

    1. James Anderson

      Re: NT

      Subsidised housing for the aristocracy.

    2. BebopWeBop

      Re: NT

      I can the that the NT might fit into the 'loved and hated' category - but does anyone love Crapita? I can't even imagine that its managers let alone its staff have any great love for the bloated corrupt organisation.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to review my membership of the NT

    There are other well meaning charities that don't waste their money with Crapita

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Time to review my membership of the NT

      I'm not sure anyone else would be much better, nor is it really something the NT could easily do in-house. In fairness to Crapita, they have handled membership queries for us very quickly and effectively.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Time to review my membership of the NT

      If you RTFM, NT have been using Crapita for 10 years. Why was it not an issue for you in 2009?

  3. steviebuk Silver badge


    I never knew they were in bed with them. Wouldn't of renewed membership if I'd known, not that we ever win the votes in the AGM or whatever they call it meeting. But this also annoys me

    "In its annual report, the trust noted its investment in IT went down £7.1m over the last year. "Our strategy going forwards will be to invest 'little and often' in our technology to keep it up to date and functioning well, rather than a pattern of large cyclical programmes of investment."

    So again, someone who doesn't fucking understand IT and thinks its a waste of money so "Invest little" we'll continue with the same old insecure shit then.

    1. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: Bollocks

      The usual attitude, "it works why mess with it". Hmm, well that's why the ne'er-do-wells that pollute the internet will have a fecking field day with your systems!

  4. LeahroyNake

    How much?

    The outsourcer answers 800,000 calls / and gives people info that is available on the website, maybe instructions on how to reset a password.

    resolves 25,000 webchat queries / by directing then to phone numbers or email support.

    and handles 220,000 emails for the National Trust each year / handles? My mail server could do that in an hour if it needed to.

    as well as delivering a range of back-office functions including letter and membership card printing. / most medium sized print shops could easily do this or they could buy in the printers & associated kit for less than a few million over 5 years.

    £46 million? Someone is having a giraffe. The worst part is my better half is a member :/

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: How much?

      It's a 5-year contract, that also handles all the holiday bookings, and things like the film companies that use NT properties. It's not just email & membership cards.

    2. RobotWyatt

      Re: How much?

      If my GCSE maths is anything to go by, which it isn't that works out to almost 9 quid a transaction.

      46m / 5 years = 9.2m per year

      £9.2m / 1,045,000 enquiries per year = £8.80 per query.

      That's a boat load of cash for which they do very little, I need to rethink my membership. To get better value if anyone needs to borrow my card do let me know.


  5. jms222

    Chugger response

    Now I know exactly what to say next time I'm approached by one of their chuggers.

  6. N2

    customer experience services

    Thats that f**ked then, but hey ho, profits rise at The Ivy

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Time for an update

    So many of their sites are seriously out of date

    Not as bad as English Heritage, many of theirs don't even have roofs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time for an update

      The Stonehenge Visitor Centre took all the money needed for fitting Stonehenge with a decent roof and dealing with the congestion on the A303 worsened by closing the road across the Plain.

      You thought English Heritage worked in the interests of the public? Is the Pope a Marxist? (Come to think of it the latter is the more probable of the two).

      (One successful maker of machine tools asked what to do with his capital as he neared retirement and it was suggested he buy a farm. After looking around a few he announced "I could never own a factory without a roof". Say it in Yorkshire for best effect.)

  8. Anonymous Coward

    NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!! El Reg got this story all wrong!!!

    The National Trust isn't doing business with Capita. Capita is being added to The National Trust, and like many past decrepit, archaic properties that the NT has taken over, it requires an investment to bring it up to the point where the public can go see it in safety. 46 million Sterling to pay Crapita's management to vacate the premises and not infect visitors with their virulent incompetence sounds about right.

  9. Giles C Silver badge

    Well I have never had a problem with the national trust membership department, and the new card readers speed up entry a lot.

    And no matter what you say national trust cakes are very good - especially either the lemon drizzle or the chocolate brownies

    1. Weeble

      Card Readers

      Yet another database telling ne'er-do-wells where you are in real time.

      [Typically a long way from home so there's plenty of time to steal the telly]

      Brilliant :(

      Those card scanners are an abomination!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Card Readers

        "Yet another database telling ne'er-do-wells where you are in real time."

        Citation needed.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NT and Crapita are perfect together, they are both excellent at extortion.

    Don't get me wrong I like the idea of the National Trust but they price their car parks outside of what a normal family can afford which in essence turns these places of historic and cultural significance into places only the middle/upper classes can afford to go. Their locations also make any other parking impossible so you have no choice but to pay their fees. Don't get me started on the extra fees for entering gardens or houses. This is a charity where most of the work on these estates is supplied by volunteers so it's not like they need that money which then begs the questions of where does it actually go?

    1. The Pi Man

      It goes into creating an illusion of “preserving the nation’s heritage for future generations”. Unfortunately, they can’t actually tell you which generation is going to benefit. It sure as hell won’t be the next generation, and I doubt it will be the one after. It’s purely protectionism of itself, and cash fleeced from customers. I’d sooner smash all the pointless stately homes down and use the land to build houses that people can actually live in.

      1. JohnMurray

        £50 each year for me....with free entry and free car parking.

        The free car-parking saves me that....have you seen the NT car-park prices? !

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Family membership is £126 which is free entry and free parking to all their properties for a year.

      £25 quid each for a family of 5?

      Quite a bit cheaper than a lot of activites, like two imax films, for that family of 5 is already over £150. Don't even think about a sports event or a show at an arena.

      You can dismiss the NT or EH if you are not into the stuff, but for people who are into history it's a good deal. I can't stand golf and I would be happy to see all golf courses turned into houses for people to actually live in. But it's not all about me and what I want, the golfers like golf.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I know, I used to have it and used it as I lived near Dunham Massey at the time. The thing is for most people it would be a spur of the moment decision to go somewhere like Tatton park only to find it's going to cost you £7 for your vehicle. It stops people going in my opinion.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If you can already afford a car, and the petrol to drive there, surely £7 is well within your budget?

          Alternatively, you could take the bus. Why should those of us trying to minimise our impact on the environment have to subsidise the cost of the construction and maintenance of a car park for your car?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I take you haven't been to the national trust very often, there are usually no buses because of their remote locations. It doesn't cost £7 per car per spot per up to 3x per day to maintain the already constructed car park. Half them are full of pot holes or fields anyway.

            I get it, you want it to be a safe space for tarquin and porcha to run around without those filthy working class children. They should just stick to their grotty theme parks and seaside towns rather than trying to better their children by showing them some culture and heritage.

            £7 pound might not be much to you but when you factor in everything else for a day trip it does to others.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Not all NT sites are stately homes out in the countryside. You really ought to look at what is available before generalising.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                I see at least two people have no clue about the sites the NT run then. I know of at least three in the immediate area to me with no parking charges, in an urban area and accessible by public transport.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              There's also just the emotional "turn-off"of feeling you are being taken for every last little farthing these sites can extract from you. Some of the NT sites have gift shops, and most of the stately homes/castles/open area visitor centers have an additional donation box in case you are feeling generous. Some of them offer guided tours at an extra cost. I'm not opposed to these sites doing that, but I would rather see something where people are not feeling they are being hit up for money at 3 or 4 different points or levels of their visit.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Or join

          Can end up two visits is > membership

    3. MJI Silver badge

      This is when it is worth joining.

      We were members for about 5 years, we definately had ours moneys worth, in local usage, and Cornwall and Purbeck holidays.

  11. macjules

    Translating the capspeak

    “Capita said it will work with the trust "to explore new opportunities to embed digital technology into the trust's customer experience operation" and "improve the service and choices available to members".”


    “So sorry we pushed you into bankruptcy by charging you £20m for an app that does not work.”

  12. DavCrav

    "second year of a turnaround programme by CEO Jon Lewis"

    I know a department store that needs turning around when he's done. It'll be a perfect fir.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "It'll be a perfect fir."

      Perfect timing for Xmas :-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small change

    They could reduce a hell of a lot of entry fees if they didn't fork out THAT sort of loot!

  14. Robin Saunter

    Our new membership cards recently turned up - with the wrong names. The first error ever in years of membership. Thanks Crapita

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Crapita have been running these service for NT since 2009 and you never even noticed before today. It even tells you that in the article.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        @John Brown: Do you have an interest to declare, or has your account been hijacked? You have posted a lot of extremely pro-NT+Capita comments here - it is starting to come across as astroturfing (which I don't associate with your username).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          I have no love for Crapita, but I am an NT member. Neither of which lead me post pro-NT or pro-Cramita comments. My comments are more pro-facts, which are in the article and many people seem to be missing. Likewise, my comments re not all NT sites being remote stately homes.

          eg, near me we have Souter Lighthouse, Gibside, Washington Old Hall, Holy Jesus Hospital, Seaton Delaval Hall, all on bus routes inside the Tyneside conurbation. Cragside is also doable by bus from here too.

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Thanks, John - noted and understood. Have one of whatever your equivalent of this is - - ->

  15. dieseltaylor

    Charities, transparency, and the disinterested.

    BTW I dislike Crapita intensely and I dislike out-sourcing BUT ...

    The National Trust [E&W] is actually one of the most "open" charities in the UK. The 5m plus Members can meaningfully put forward motions and have them voted on at the AGM. The AGM is actually broadcast live and open to viewers to send in questions live. Or it was when I was asking their advice on these matters three years ago as I campaigned aginst Which? [the Consumers Association] which was and is still the complete opposite in transparency.

    THE consumer charity run by business people that managed to miss the housing/leasehold scandal for a decade, lost around £40m over 9 years with two failed commercial businesses, and paid big bonuses [ £2.24m to four execs in one scheme].* In comparison both National Trusts are beacons of rectitude. However most people are happy to whinge and few do anything about it or even pay attention to Annual reports and then what is really going on.

    * Which? is slightly improved now.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Charities, transparency, and the disinterested.

      You state that you only found this out by "asking their [presumably NT's] advice on these matters". I put it to you that, if you only found out about this via direct contact (and you don't know if it has changed), then this is a strange definition of "open and transparent".

      1. dieseltaylor

        Re: Charities, transparency, and the disinterested.

        Wrong. I was aware of the ease of putting forward motions etc and that they did a live broadcast as this was included in the election and AGM details

        The costs and logistics of this was the interesting part and were quite minimal. I passed ThIs information on to the Trustees of Which/consumers association and also mailed most of the dwindling number of actual members 9k as opposed to 500k who subscribe.

        The concept of charity staff capturing a charity is not unknown in the charity world.

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: Charities, transparency, and the disinterested.

          "The concept of charity staff capturing a charity is not unknown in the charity world."

          Very, very true, unfortunately.

      2. dieseltaylor

        Re: Charities, transparency, and the disinterested.

        Wrong. I was aware of the ease of putting forward motions etc and that they did a live broadcast as this was included in the election and AGM details

        The costs of this was the interesting part and were quite minimal. I passed ThIs information on to the Trustees of Which/consumers association and also mailed most of the dwindling number of actual members 9k as opposed to 500k who subscribe.

        The concept of charity staff capturing a charity is not unknown in the charity world.

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Croome Court

    The gardens are very good, well worth a visit.

  17. MJI Silver badge

    NT can be good value

    I would recommend joining if you are going to visit Purbeck, so many carparks are now free. Including a few beach ones, plus of course Corfe Castle.

    Also for parts of Cornwall, all those lovely gardens.

    My favourite gardens are Glendurgan and the non NT next door Trebah.

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