Voluntary Action Westminster chief executive steps down after restructure

Bernard Collier advised the board of trustees that his own role could no longer be funded

Bernard Collier
Bernard Collier

Bernard Collier, chief executive of Voluntary Action Westminster, has left the organisation after a major restructure.

Collier, who ran the organisation for more than 12 years and left last week, told Third Sector he had recommended to trustees that he should be made redundant.

"We’ve been downsizing considerably," he said. "I’ve been managing that process, and I advised the board that my role could no longer be funded in this environment, but that we were sustainable if my role disappeared."

He said his post had been "deleted" so he would not be replaced. The organisation would be run as a social enterprise, he said, and had 12 paid staff, compared with the 30 or so it had 18 months ago.

"Over that time people have left and one or two have been made redundant," he said.

Collier said the organisation’s income had fallen from £1.6m about five years ago to about £500,000 during this financial year. The main reasons for the fall in funding were the end of central government and lottery-funded work, he said.

"The organisation will continue to focus on the same things, but on a smaller scale," he said.

Collier said he was looking for a business development role in the sector.

Eddy Aroda, chair of Voluntary Action Westminster, said he was unable to comment on the restructure or potential redundancies at the organisation while the process was going ahead.

In February, Voluntary Action Westminster, the Kensington and Chelsea Social Council and Community and Voluntary Sector Association Hammersmith and Fulham opened talks about a possible merger. Aroda said the organisations were still talking about the merger, but there were no definite plans for it to go ahead.

"We feel we don’t know what will happen at the end of the day; we’re still exploring it," he said.

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