National Trust seeks multimillion pound savings by restructuring

Job cuts might follow after budgets are devolved to local managers and the number of regions is cut to six

National Trust headquarters in Swindon
National Trust headquarters in Swindon

The National Trust is hoping to save millions of pounds through a large-scale restructuring process that will devolve responsibility for budgets to the managers of its individual properties and reduce the number of English regions the charity has from nine to six.

A spokesman for the charity said redundancies were possible, but that it was not yet clear whether this would happen and how many staff would be affected.

"One possible outcome is that there would be fewer head office staff if more responsibility is devolved, but a lot of the changes will be made by redeploying people," he said.

The spokesman said the National Trust had had a "bumper" year in 2009 and was in good financial shape. Saving money was not the primary purpose of restructuring, he said, but the charity hoped doing so would make it "leaner and more efficient".

"There are no figures for how much money this will save, but it could be millions," he said.

Under the new structure, managers of National Trust properties would be given incentives to raise more money locally and would be able to keep a greater proportion of the funds they raised, the spokesman said.

But he said some properties were unlikely ever to raise much money, and these would continue to receive support from the charity's head office.

A statement released by the charity said the changes would "help eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, remove duplication of effort and concentrate the wide range of skills within the trust at the point of delivery".

The National Trust's annual income comes from three sources in roughly equal proportions: membership and entry fees; fundraising, donations and legacies; and investment and enterprise income.

All membership and entry fees and nearly all fundraising income is currently gathered centrally.

Staff will be consulted on the changes, which are expected to come into force by the end of this year.

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