RNLI planning to cut 135 jobs as efficiency saving

Mark Dowie, chief executive of the charity, says it is consulting on losing 95 full-time jobs and 40 temporary positions that won't be continued or filled

The lifeboat charity the RNLI is planning to cut 135 jobs as part of an attempt to make efficiency savings after experiencing a fall in income.

Mark Dowie, chief executive of the charity, said that, pending consultation, 95 full-time jobs would be lost, plus 40 temporary positions that would not be continued or vacancies that would not be filled.

Last month Dowie told Third Sector that the organisation was facing an increase in demand at the same time as the charity’s accounts for 2018 showed that income fell by £7.2m and rising costs meant the charity had £28.6m less to spend on charitable activities than it did in the previous year.

He warned in the interview that the charity would have to cuts cost and fundraise more efficiently, but at the time was unable to comment on what it might mean for jobs.

In a statement made today, Dowie said: "The RNLI is facing some major challenges. We have a shortfall in funds, but more people than ever need our help. It’s a perfect storm.

"This means we’re having to make some very difficult decisions."

He said the job losses, which will be subject to consultation for the next 45 days, were "part of a programme of activity that, combined with increased investment in fundraising, is designed to help us get back to living within our means and delivering our world-class rescue service across the UK and Ireland".

Dowie added that the majority of the proposed redundancies would concern staff at the RNLI’s support centre in Poole as the charity looked to focus on its front-line services and provide support at a local level.

Dowie, a former lifeboat operations manager at Salcombe RNLI in Devon, joined the charity four months ago and said that in his time in post he had been incredibly impressed by the dedication of the staff and the quality of their work.

"This reduction in jobs isn’t a reflection on the value I and the organisation place on individuals," he said today.

"But we must do things in a more efficient way, and this means we will need fewer people.

"So I understand that the next few months will be challenging for all involved, but we have to take action now if we are going to weather this storm.

"And I know everyone at the RNLI is as committed as I am to making sure this 195-year-old charity continues to be a world-class rescue service that is still saving lives in 200 years’ time."

At the beginning of 2017, the RNLI went "opt-in only", promising it would send fundraising material to or contact only those people who had proactively agreed to receive it.

In the interview last month, Dowie said he did not believe the move to opt-in only had caused the fall in fundraised income, but said instead that the charity needed to diversify its income.

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