NCVO to make 12 people redundant

Those losing their jobs include Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development, who is joining Cass Business School

The NCVO's offices in London
The NCVO's offices in London

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is carrying out a restructure that will result in 12 people, mainly in its volunteering and development department, being made redundant.

The umbrella body said the move was prompted by the end of funding for four projects which brought in a total of about £300,000 a year, with a fifth under threat.

The restructure will involve reducing the number of departments at the charity from four to three and the departure of Justin Davis Smith, its executive director of volunteering and development, who is to join Cass Business School as a senior research fellow focusing on volunteering research and teaching.

Programmes being wound up at the end of the month include Big Assist, a Big Lottery Fund programme that has offered support to infrastructure organisations since 2012, Volunteering in Care Homes, a three-year project funded by the Department of Health to build links between care homes and volunteer centres, and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Health Review, a one-year scheme assessing funding partnerships between health and care agencies and voluntary sector organisations.

The NCVO said it was also losing support from the Cabinet Office for Funding Central, the website that lists grants, contracts and loans available to voluntary sector organisations, but added that it intended to continue running the site and was "looking at various options to move towards a different funding model for this important resource".

It said it was also in discussion with a funder over one other project, which it declined to name, that might result in the loss of some or all of the funding for that scheme.

The restructure involves the loss of 11.4 full-time equivalent posts and will reduce the NCVO’s workforce to 101 people, across 95.2 FTE roles. The NCVO's income in the year to March 2015 was £10.4m.

As part of the restructure, the positions held by three senior staff – Karl Wilding, its director of public policy, Richard Williams, its director of enterprise, and Davis Smith, were made redundant.

Two positions were created and ring fenced for these three directors. Wilding is taking on the new role of director of public policy and volunteering and Williams has been appointed director of enterprise and development.

A statement from the NCVO said Davis Smith, the former chief executive of Volunteering England who joined the NCVO as part of the merger of the two organisations in 2013, decided not to apply for either role and would leave to take up the Cass position.

The NCVO said the three new departments being created – public policy and volunteering; enterprise and development; and planning and resources - would reflect "a complete integration of volunteering and support" into the NCVO following the merger with Volunteering England.

It said the move would allow it to "put its full weight behind volunteering policy and support, building further on its investment over the last three years".

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said it was in a healthy financial position but "must act prudently so we can continue our work representing voluntary organisations and volunteering for years to come".

He said: "We are undergoing what is an increasingly common fact of life in the sector – acting ahead of time to adapt quickly and effectively to changing funding circumstances. The new structure ensures that all our front-line policy and support work will continue - and, indeed, be strengthened."

He said the projects had achieved an enormous amount, and their legacy would continue to support the voluntary sector for years to come. 

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