The number of staff in the Office for Civil Society has fallen by a quarter in the past year.
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, revealed the figure in response to a parliamentary question from Gareth Thomas, Labour’s new shadow civil society minister.
Hurd said the number of posts had declined from 115 in 2010/11 to 86 in the current financial year – a fall of 25 per cent.He said that OCS staff could be deployed elsewhere in the Cabinet Office as priorities changed.
OCS spending is due to be cut by 61 per cent over the next three years, from £192m in 2011/12 to £74m in 2014/15.
Thomas asked a separate question about Charity Commission staffing levels.
Hurd referred to a letter from Nick Allaway, head of corporate services at the commission, which said the number of staff at the regulator was expected to fall from 404 at the end of March this year to 343 by the end of March next year.
Staff levels were expected to decline further to 290 by 2013, 288 by 2014 and 287 by 2015, according to Allaway’s letter.
The regulator’s budget is due to fall from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.
Sam Younger, the commission’s chief executive, responded to another question from Thomas about the number of investigations it had opened in the past five years.
Younger said 303 investigations began in 2006/07, 170 in 2007/08, 168 in 2008/09, 180 in 2009/10 and 144 in 2010/11.
The number of formal statutory inquiries, which are reserved for the most serious abuses of charity law, was 26 in 2006/07, 19 in 2007/08, 19 in 2008/09. nine in 2009/10 and three in 2010/11.