Staff numbers at Scope down by more than 1,100 last year

The charity's latest accounts, for the year to 31 March, say the average workforce fell from 3,295 to 2,136

Staff numbers at the disability charity Scope fell by more than 1,100 last year, its latest accounts show.

According to the charity’s accounts for the year to 31 March 2017, the average number of employees at the charity fell from 3,295 to 2,136.

A spokesman for Scope said that the figures included a lot of temporary staff and those working part-time or on shift patterns. In comparison, the charity’s full-time equivalent headcount fell from 2,387 to 2,057, the accounts show.

The spokesman said the changes reflected the completion of the charity’s care home review in 2016, which resulted in the closure of some care homes and some unprofitable charity shops, and more efficient corporate support functions.

The release of the latest accounts comes after a year of significant change at the charity, with the announcement of a new five-year strategy in April in which the charity would cut two-thirds of its staff and reduce income by 40 per cent as part of a radical restructure.

In an article published at the time for the think tank NPC, Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said the charity was becoming a "mission-led social business" and was focusing on its core mission of achieving an equal society for disabled people.

This meant stopping or transferring work that did not contribute directly to this core purpose. Third Sector revealed earlier this month that 2,000 staff would be transferred to a private care company as part of the charity’s plans to sell off all of its care homes.

The latest staffing figures do not reflect those changes brought about by the new strategy, which were initiated after the end of the financial year covered by the latest set of accounts.

The accounts also show that £529,971 was spent on redundancy costs in the year to 31 March 2017, compared with £905,256 the previous year.

Ex-gratia payments of £229,455 were made to staff, compared with £465,065 the year before.

Despite the changes in staff numbers, overall income was £97.8m, which was a fall of only £1.7m on the previous year.

The accounts show that total expenditure was almost £87.2m, compared with £91.4m the year before.

Property sales of £11.6m helped the charity achieve a surplus of £7.4m for the year, compared with one of £2.9m the previous year.

Atkinson said: "We do everything we possibly can to avoid making redundancies. However, we’re committed to ensuring that we spend as much of our supporters’ generous donations as possible on our mission to secure equality for disabled people. That means we’ve sometimes had to change the services we run, close unprofitable shops or invest in new technology that means we’ve needed fewer staff in our corporate support teams.

"Throughout these changes we’ve worked closely with our staff and, when some colleagues have had to leave Scope, we’ve made sure that they are treated fairly and recognised for their hard work and commitment."

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