Save the Children UK's income drops by more than £100m

The children's charity attributes the fall to fewer "emergency responses needing large-scale funding", rather than last year's sexual misconduct allegations

Annual report 2018
Annual report 2018

Income at Save the Children UK has fallen by almost a quarter to £303m, its lowest level for at least six years, according to its latest accounts.

The charity said the £103m fall in income in the financial year to 31 December 2018 was due to "fewer emergency responses needing large-scale funding" and the "end of several long-running government-funded programmes".

The charity had previously indicated that it expected its income to fall by £67m in 2018

It said that the main reasons for the loss of income included the end of the charity’s response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, which resulted in a £49m fall in income. It added that the end of various multi-year grants led to a fall in income of £28m and a reduction in other emergency grants of £18m.

Save's income had grown steadily from £342.6m in 2013 to £406.6m in 2017.

Last year, the charity became embroiled in a scandal over its handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by senior executives at the charity. The Charity Commission opened an inquiry into the case in April 2018 and is due to report its findings shortly.  

The charity said that it had lost £16m in 2018 after the decision to temporarily withdraw from bidding for new government funding in the wake of the Charity Commission inquiryThird Sector understands that the charity is not directly attributing the fall in funding to the recent scandal.

The latest accounts show that unrestricted income from the public fell only from £93m to £92m. 

However, total expenditure also fell dramatically, from £408.1m to £314.6m, meaning the charity had a deficit for the year of £10.9m.

The fall in expenditure was largely down to a decline in spending on charitable activities, which fell from £370.5m to £276.1m.

The accounts also show that the independent review of the charity’s workplace culture, which was conducted after the allegations of sexual misconduct came to light, cost £444,000. A further £114,000 was spent on media law advice and £70,000 on communications and crisis management advice and support in 2018.

The charity said in a statement that it was "wholeheartedly committed to learning from our problems, rebuilding trust with our supporters and creating the organisational culture our staff deserve".

Steven McIntosh, senior director at Save, told Third Sector that public donations had "held quite level" despite the overall reduction in income. He also said the charity would review its operating model.

"We are trying to keep any overall cuts to our resources to a minimum," McIntosh said.

"As a result of looking at our operating model, we are looking at overall administration costs and the costs of delivering our programmes. We need to look at whether the shape of the organisation in the future fits where we need to get to.

"We are using freezes in recruitment to keep a hold on costs as we do that review about what the shape of the organisation looks like in the future." 

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