NSPCC consultations on cuts fail to allay staff fears on jobs and services

Children’s charity the NSPCC has denied claims
from its staff that it has “lost the plot” following the
announcement that it plans to realign the charity’s work and scrap
18 projects.

Staff claim the one-month consultation on the
threatened closures has been “just a formality” and that appeals
against closure plans had been hindered by the charity’s
“one-liner” explanations about decisions.

The NSPCC accepted that its responses were
“succinct”, but insisted questions had been answered “as well as
they could be”.

However, the outcome of the consultation
process, announced this week, revealed very few amendments to the
original proposals. The NSPCC said 88 redundancies had been
identified overall, but that there would be some 200 vacancies
following the alignment process. Redundancy notices are due to be
sent out in the first week of December, and will become effective
from the end of February 2002

The British Union for Social Work Employees
(Buswe)has pledged to fight the closures and is encouraging staff
to refuse redundancy and is considering tribunal action.

“None of this makes sense,” said Buswe general
secretary Steve Anslow. “They are not re-aligning, they are
reducing services. We say that is wrong. You ought not be looking
at the services you directly provide for kids. You ought to be
looking at the rest of the empire.”

Similar feelings were expressed on the NSPCC’s
internet chatroom by staff members.

“They are focusing on school teams and young
abuser projects and going away from child protection work,” one
NSPCC employee facing redundancy told Community Care. “You can’t
help the abusers if you are not helping those who have been abused.
I think they have lost the plot. If our work doesn’t protect
children, I don’t know what does.”

Another member of staff added: “The top
management don’t seem to have a clue about what’s needed at the
front line.”

But the NSPCC has emphatically rejected the
allegations, stating that it remained focused on being a child
protection agency.

“The NSPCC exists to end cruelty to children
and we will continue to develop and supply services that address
that aim,” the charity said in a statement. It added that new or
expanding services, such as the internet, the helpline, or the
special investigation service, would cover the country and even
reach children currently not helped by anyone.

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