Oxfam is cutting “head office and support functions” after reportedly warning staff it urgently needs to find £16m of savings and job loses are “inevitable” in the wake of the Haiti sex scandal.
According to the Guardian, Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring told staff last week that the charity will “have to save substantial amounts of money to put [us] on a more stable and sustainable footing”.
In an internal document, the newspaper said Goldring wrote that the “size of our programmes will be substantially reduced for this year and next ... this means making tough choices.”
The document went on to say jobs losses are “inevitable” and the newspaper said selling off high-street shops and reducing the number of countries in which the charity operates are both options being considered.
An Oxfam spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost only that it was “cutting head office and support functions”.
Oxfam GB employs around 2,000 staff.
A statement from the charity reads:
“We are devastated that the appalling behaviour of some former staff in Haiti and shortcomings in how we dealt with that eight years ago means we now have less money to provide clean water, food and other support to people who need it. We are immensely grateful to all those - including more than nine in ten of our regular givers - who have continued to support us during these difficult times. This support makes a massive difference to people struggling to escape poverty and to survive disasters around the world.ADVERTISEMENT
“We are cutting head office and support functions to ensure that we can continue with the majority of our lifesaving and life changing work on the ground, such as helping Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and people struggling to survive war in Yemen. Our other top priority for investment is our action plan to strengthen our continuing efforts to root out sexual harassment and abuse.”
Oxfam has struggled to reclaim its credibility since allegations surfaced earlier this year that its staff used sex workers during a relief mission after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The Charity Commission is investigating whether Oxfam failed to disclose details of the alleged sexual misconduct by its staff.
The revelations led to a temporary ban on funding from the Department of International Development and Haiti this week banned Oxfam from operating in the country.
Oxfam confirmed to the Guardian it was trying to save £16m which the internal document said was about 10% of “our relevant income”.
The newspaper said the figure represented a shortfall in its “unrestricted” budget which is money raised from its shops and individuals to be spent on whatever it sees fit.
With less cash flow, the document said, Oxfam would need to run a “smaller infrastructure ... sadly the loss of some roles is inevitable as we cannot otherwise make savings of this scale”.
The document continued: “We will seek to maintain our overall level of support for country programmes but narrow the range of support we offer within our themes of water, women, work and equality. In addition, from 2019 we will begin to reduce the number of countries in which we invest as a partner affiliate.”
The charity, according to the Guardian, has also pledged to “sell freehold property to quickly raise substantial funds”.
“This will be done mainly on a sale and lease back basis to preserve our ability to trade from these locations.”