Scope plans to cut two-thirds of staff and reduce income by 40 per cent

An article by chief executive Mark Atkinson, published by the think tank NPC, says the charity will become a 'mission-led social business'

The disability charity Scope is planning a radical restructure that will result in staff numbers falling by two-thirds and an expected 40 per cent reduction in income.

In an article published today by the think tank NPC, Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, says the charity has chosen to become a "mission-led social business" that focuses on its core mission of achieving an equal society in which disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

He says this would result in the charity stopping, exiting or transferring any work that does not contribute directly to this core purpose.

The motive behind the change is a desire to become more relevant to disabled people in the UK, he writes.

"This question of relevance is pertinent to many charities and not-for-profit organisations," says Atkinson. "It is certainly a question facing parts of our sector. For Scope, we found the answer by redoubling our focus on our core purpose.

"Scope’s mission is to achieve an equal society in which all disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. This means our focus must be on achieving structural change within society, influencing public policy, law, markets and attitudes.

"So now Scope has chosen to become a mission-led social business. We will focus resolutely on core mission and stop or exit or transfer everything else."

Over the coming months, says Atkinson, the charity, which employs 3,295 people according to its accounts for the year to the end of March 2016, will transfer all of its regulated and day services to other providers, which will invest, develop and grow them over the coming years.

He writes: "So much of the estate and current services offer that was built over the decades following the birth of the National Spastics Society [Scope’s name until 1994] will no longer be part of the organisation.

"In transferring, we hope to secure the future of these valued services – they do, after all, deliver great outcomes to those that use them, but it would be difficult to argue they achieve Scope’s core purpose of everyday equality for all disabled people.

"This move will also allow Scope to refocus on doing less, reaching more and having greater impact. It will, however, mean an initial reduction in our annual income by 40 per cent and see the number of employees reduce by two-thirds."

The charity’s income has fallen slightly in recent years, according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission: from £104.3m in the year to the end of March 2012 to £99.5m in 2015/16.

The article is one in a series "from the sector’s boldest voices" published by NPC today.

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