Interview: Jon Scourse, chief executive, FRSB

Jon Scourse says he's done the groundwork at the FRSB and now it's time for a better work-life balance.

For more than two and a half years, Jon Scourse has been pounding up and down from his home in rural Oxfordshire to his job as chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board in London, often travelling round the country as well.

The job has been as demanding as the travel: setting up the world's first self- regulation organisation for fundraising, often in the face of resistance from the fundraising community, and dealing with the inevitable teething problems.

Scourse had told himself he would review his position after three years. With that landmark approaching next February, the news emerged last week that he would leave the organisation at Christmas (ThirdSector Online, 12 September).

He told Third Sector it was an entirely personal decision and that he wanted to achieve a better work-life balance. "My remit was to work to the framework of the Buse Report to set up the FRSB, and I believe I have achieved most of that," he said. "I have also reached a point in my life where I'm looking for a better balance so that I can indulge my passion for landscape photography and for singing - a bit more time for me and my four grandchildren."

Scourse's job has rarely been easy. Membership has not grown as fast as was originally expected and not everyone has warmed to his straightforward style. Matters came to a head this summer when a group of senior fundraisers from big charities told the FRSB that it was not responsive enough to the industry and was putting too much emphasis on complaints.

The upshot was a new deal, announced last month, with a new advisory board and more help for members - but also a revised fee structure, with higher membership charges for bigger charities.

Scourse said he considered this a good point to leave, with most of the initial work completed and a new phase about to begin. The job involved "quite high exposure", he said, and criticism was part of it: "It hasn't affected me hugely - I think it has to do with the role rather than being personal."

He said the most rewarding thing had been the FRSB's rapid progress. "We started in February 2006 with a clean sheet - not even a name - and we have created the whole thing from scratch," he said. "It's been immensely satisfying and I have no regrets."

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