One in five charities planning to axe jobs

NCVO's Charity Forecast survey reveals pessimistic outlook as sector weighs up more collaboration

Almost one in five charity leaders expects to reduce staffing levels before the end of May, according to the NCVO's latest quarterly Charity Forecast survey.

The umbrella body's poll showed that 19 per cent of the 144 people surveyed in February said they were planning to cut paid staff numbers during the next three months.

Although 30 per cent said they planned to increase staffing, that figure is down 26 percentage points on the previous quarterly survey, carried out last November, and is lower than at any point during the past year.

The survey also revealed continuing pessimism about the future, with 41 per cent of respondents expecting their organisation's general situation to worsen over the next year, and 50 per cent expecting its financial position to worsen, an increase of 19 percentage points since May 2008 when the survey was first carried out.

Meanwhile, 88 per cent believe economic conditions in the voluntary sector will be negative over the next 12 months, and only 42 per cent expect to increase their expenditure, down 32 percentage points since February 2008.

The survey also found that 74 per cent of charities expect to collaborate more in the next year. And although 49 per cent expect competition between charities to increase, only 2 per cent expect to collaborate less.

These findings contrast with the Charity Commission's latest Economic Survey of Charities, released in March, which found that only 3 per cent of charities had considered collaborating with another charity as a result of the economic downturn.

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "It is encouraging to see the sector is responding to the challenge by planning increased collaboration and an expansion of volunteers."

Copies of the report can be bought from the NCVO.

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