Experience Corps may prune board members

The Experience Corps is considering a culling exercise to reduce the size of its board as it prepares to enter into competition with volunteering charities for government contracts in 2004.

The Corps, which was set up with a £20m grant from the Home Office in 2001 to encourage the over-50s to start volunteering, is thinking about streamlining its 12-member board to make it more efficient.

The organisation is also concerned that board members who work with other volunteering bodies - such as Elisabeth Hoodless, who is also executive director at Community Service Volunteers - may be in a difficult position when the Corps starts competing with volunteering charities.

"The chair (Baroness Sally Greengross) is looking at board composition and the possibility of reducing its size because some members are likely to experience a conflict of interest," said Experience Corps chief executive Maggie Semple.

The corps decided to start bidding for Government contracts to ensure the future of the organisation following the Home Office's announcement that it would not renew its funding when it comes to an end in March 2004 (Third Sector, 6 August).

The Home Office's decision was a blow to the corps, which relies solely on Government funding. However, it is now seeking alternative revenue.

"There is more need for the Experience Corps now than ever before," said Semple. "It would be morally questionable if we just wound down. We have a duty to make that £20m go further and build on the investment."

Despite these assertions, board member Elisabeth Hoodless said in an interview with Third Sector that she is not confident about the organisation's future.

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