Children’s charity set to cut staff amid fears of cutbacks in services

The NSPCC is carrying out a major review of
its services and is planning to axe almost half its national
director posts.

Plans for projects are also being scaled back
after the charity admitted its £250 million fundraising
campaign has banked much less than previously reported.

Chief executive Mary Marsh said a review of
all existing services would report in two months. Staff fear it
could lead to “significant” cuts in services.

But Marsh said she has had “no indication of a
significant number of closures, but there will be some”.

She added: “There will be some things in our
original business plan that we will not now be taking up. It is
always disappointing not to do as much as we wanted to do. But the
whole operation is about getting things right for children.”

The NSPCC employs about 1,500 people, with
about two-thirds working on children’s services, operating its
telephone helpline and investigating abuse allegations.

Steve Anslow, general secretary of the British
Union of Social Work Employees, commented: “There is considerable
concern among staff about the future of services and employment
prospects at the NSPCC.

“They suspect that there are going to be
significant cuts in services.”

There has already been a major shake-up of the
charity’s structure with eight, largely autonomous regions being
turned into five divisions which have much closer ties to the
charity’s London headquarters.

All eight regional director positions have
been made redundant and four of the nine national director posts
are to be axed, said Marsh.

The director of education and community
services, Barry Graham, and the director of children protection,
Neil Hunt, have been told their positions will be made redundant.
The posts will be merged into a single director of children’s
services, a return to the position 18 months ago and in line with
other similar organisations.

The charity said the review of its operations
was part of its shift from operating as a child protection agency
to concentrating more on preventive work, as outlined in its Full
Stop campaign.

The campaign has a £250 million
fundraising target, the largest to date by a British charity. It
was launched by Tony Blair in March 1999 and the fundraising
chairman is the Duke of York.

Earlier this year the charity reported that
spending on children’s services had increased by 63 per cent to
£50 million a year as a result of the campaign.

But Marsh has admitted it has raised much less
than previously reported, with £60.6 million being banked so
far. A further £40 million is believed to have been

Fundraising had initially appeared to be
progressing better than expected. In September last year it was
reported that £70 million had been received and a further
£100 million pledged. However, the charity now says that the
reported amount was overstated.

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