Fewer Oxfam city jobs lost than feared in restructuring

Witney Gazette: Chief executive Mark Goldring Chief executive Mark Goldring

OXFAM has cut 132 posts in four months – but fewer roles than expected have been lost in Oxford.

The Cowley-based charity announced last year it would be cutting 125 jobs nationwide, including 110 in Oxford.

It now says that with so-called restructuring, due to be completed at the end of this month, no more than 90 jobs will go from Oxford.

It has axed 41.5 posts in campaigns and policy, 25 in communications and 8.5 posts from human resources (HR), and hopes to save £7.5m.

Oxfam said it wanted to reduce redundant administrative roles and put more money into helping the world’s poorest countries.

Oxfordshire Town Chamber network co-ordinator Keith Slater said if the charity saved more money to donate to places like Syria then it was “all for the good”.

He said: “Oxfordshire’s unemployment figures aren’t that bad. There are jobs out there.

“If you were in the north of England it would be more difficult, and hopefully these people will have developed skills at Oxfam which are transferable to new roles.”

Chief executive Mark Goldring said the charity no longer needed as much support in its head office.

Mr Goldring, who became Oxfam’s chief executive in May and earns £122,400 a year, said it was “imperative” that Oxfam lives within its means and is relevant to 21st-century needs.

Oxfam employs 5,300 people worldwide and works with more than 22,000 volunteers.

Last year, it reached 94 countries, 13,500,000 people and has a budget of £400m. Its income to the year ending in March was £367.9m, compared with £385.5m the year before.

Its two main sources of income, shop sales and fundraising, were both down from 2011/12.

As well as human resources, campaigns and communications, the firm has also cut 19 jobs in trading, 13 in finance, 18 from its international team and seven from marketing.

It said a “significant number of these post savings” were made from not replacing staff when they left.

Oxfam was founded in Oxford in 1942 as the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief by Quakers, social activists and city academics.

It has expanded hugely since then but from 2015 it will begin to change its international programmes, which it has been reported will see it stop working in several unspecified countries.

The charity’s accounts for 2012-13 show that its reserves fell by £12.7m during 2012/13, with the balance being £26.5m at the end of March 2013. The charity said this was in line with its reserve target of £25m.

Oxfam’s HR director Jane Cotton said: “The process is coming towards a close and, while it’s been difficult for everyone involved, it had to be done for the two reasons we set out originally, which were to address a shortfall in income and to ensure we were able to deliver most effectively in a changing world.”

Oxford City Council’s Labour leader Bob Price said: “It is a very sad day for the city, and it is sad for the people concerned.”

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