The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has said that Sir Stuart Etherington, its outgoing chief executive, will remain with the umbrella body until December and carry out a project about its work in Europe.
Etherington will step down as chief executive of the NCVO next week after 25 years in the role and will be replaced by Karl Wilding, the charity’s director of public policy and volunteering.
But the NCVO said today that Etherington will not actually retire until December and will remain with the umbrella body on his current salary of £145,218 a year to carry out the project, which will look at future options for the NCVO’s European and international work.
In a blog post today, Etherington said he had this week visited the grave in northern France of Edward Birchall, who was killed during the First World War but who left £1,000 in his will that was used to set up the organisation that became the NCVO, which is now 100 years old.
Etherington said that during the visit he had signed a joint declaration with counterparts from France and Germany that promises the organisations would work together to help charities across Europe create better, healthier and happier societies.
In the blog, Etherington said one of Wilding’s first tasks would be to begin a strategic review of the NCVO’s work.
"In the meantime, to inform this process I will be undertaking a project to examine NCVO’s European links and make recommendations on what can be done to strengthen our international work," said Etherington.
He said Brexit was a juncture to review the NCVO’s European and international work.
"I know from my time serving on the European Economic and Social Committee, a group that brings together civil society across Europe to inform policy-making, that there is a great deal charities in different countries can do to learn from and support one another," he said.
"Whatever happens politically, we should ensure we are doing what we can to strengthen these links."
Etherington is expected to produce a report for the NCVO’s board meeting in December.
It is not yet clear whether the board will decide to publish the recommendations, but it is expected that some of the ideas will be reflected in some of the conversations the NCVO has about its future strategy.
An NCVO spokesman said Etherington was able to hand over the chief executive role earlier than might have otherwise been possible because he was being succeeded by an internal candidate.