Scope paid almost £1m for redundancies in latest financial year

According to its accounts for the year to 31 March 2016, the disability charity paid out £905,256, compared with £558,314 the previous year

Scope annual report
Scope annual report

The disability charity Scope made almost £1m of redundancy payments in the year to 31 March 2016, its latest accounts show.

According to the accounts, Scope made payments totalling £905,256 – an increase from £558,314 the previous year.

The accounts show that total income fell by £1.4m on the previous year to £99.5m, with income from grants, donations and legacies falling from £22.3m to £20.2m over the same period.

Expenditure on charitable activities was £64.9m, compared with £73m the year before, and total expenditure was £91.4m.

Staff numbers have fallen at the charity, with the average number of staff dropping to 3,295 in the latest accounts, compared with 3,555 in the previous year.

According to the accounts, directors at Scope received a total of £241,556 for loss of office in 2015/16. Five staff earning more than £60,000 a year departed during the year, the accounts show.

This will have included Richard Hawkes, the charity’s former chief executive, who left in May 2015 as part of a review of Scope’s overall direction.

Across the charity, only the retail section has experienced an increase in staff numbers, with all other departments having fewer staff than the previous year, the accounts show.

Ex-gratia payments based on employee service were also paid, with the total amount for the year coming to £465,065, compared with £136,626 the year before.

The charity said the redundancies were part of efforts to reduce overheads and management costs, including losing people in senior management roles.

Some staff at care homes that closed as a result of a review of Scope's care home provision were also made redundant, the charity said.

There was no pay increase for all employees in 2015/16 according to the accounts, but the charity said in a statement that it had given all staff a 1 per cent pay increase from 1 June 2016.

It also said it had focused the 2016/17 pay award on its lowest-paid employees by introducing a minimum wage of £7.50 an hour, which was 30p higher than the government’s national living wage.

The statement said that the charity’s executive team had declined the 1 per cent increase.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: "Over the past 18 months we’ve prioritised restoring Scope’s financial performance so that we’re in the best position to deliver our strategy to change society so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else."

In the 2014/15 financial year, Atkinson said, the charity reported a total deficit of nearly £4m and free reserves stood at just £3.5m, "which is unsustainable for an organisation of our size and risk".

He said that by the end of 2015/16 the deficit had been brought down to £1.2m and free reserves had almost doubled.

The latest accounts show that property sales of £5.1m and actuarial losses of £1m resulted in an overall surplus of £2.9m.

"This significant improvement was achieved by reducing costs across the organisation, particularly in support and senior management functions, but also by growing our fundraising and retail income," Atkinson said.

"We have continued to improve our financial position in 2016/17 and the organisation is in the strongest position it has been for many years. While there are still substantial risks ahead, we are in a better position than ever to face them."

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