Scope brings in expert to help with financial woes

Scope has hired Gordon Bullock, the former chief operating officer at discount retail chain TK Maxx, on a fixed-term consultancy to improve the performance of its 300 stores as it bids to solve its financial troubles.

His appointment is part of a wider plan by Scope to invest in fundraising to reduce its £7.8m deficit.

However, the charity has been forced to make cuts and implement a recruitment freeze to save money in the short term.

"This strategy is not a quick fix," Scope said in its annual report, which was published last week. "It is designed to address the underlying causes of Scope's poor long-term financial performance. In the meantime, we plan to finance the deficit by the sale of a small number of properties."

Those properties include the Cyncoed flats in Cardiff, which offer residential care, and the cerebral palsy charity's Trengweath School in Plymouth and Beech Tree School in Preston.

The sale of these properties, which was announced in March, will generate £5.6m when completed.

Scope blames the reported shortfall on a delay in the sale of these properties, a difficult trading climate and unexpected expenditure on recruitment, pensions and education services.

The charity has also refuted accusations that it is paying over the odds for senior management salaries. "To get the best, we have to pay realistic, market-rate salaries," the report said. "Excellent people do not come cheaply. All our senior salaries are comparable to equivalent roles within similar sized bodies to Scope."

A spokesman added: "We have taken some necessary risks - calculated risks that charities such as ourselves have to take as we become more business-like. This does not mean that Scope is in financial crisis."

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