Immediate release: Wednesday 3 June
Oxfam consults staff on reorganisation
Oxfam GB today shared with staff plans for organisational changes ahead of a planned strategy covering the decade to 2030.
The strategic reorganisation will ensure that Oxfam adapts to a changing world, with an increased focus on achieving long-term improvements in the lives of people living in fragile states, shifting power to the global South by working through local partners wherever possible. In the short-term it will focus on protecting communities from Covid-19 as well as working towards a just recovery from a crisis that is expected to push up to half a billion more people into poverty.
The international organisation today began consulting with staff on the proposal which aims to reduce costs by around £16 million annually and is expected to result in the loss of more than 200 posts. Oxfam said it will look to avoid redundancies where possible.
Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said: “The world is changing fast and Oxfam needs to adapt in a way that builds on our proud history of saving lives and working with communities to help them fight hunger, sickness and injustice. Without urgent action, half a billion people could be forced into poverty by the coronavirus, so this work is more important than ever.
“To be as effective as possible over the next decade we are accelerating some of the changes we had planned. We will focus our efforts on delivering transformative programming in fewer places and on fewer issues so that we concentrate resources and maximise the difference we make. And we are transforming ourselves into a more agile and globally balanced network of individuals, communities and organisations, committed to tackling the common challenges that face people living in poverty around the world.
“These strategic changes are long planned but I am sorry to be adding to the concerns of our dedicated and talented staff during this difficult time. The financial reality – not least the ongoing and uncertain impact of Covid – requires us to act now to ensure we live within our means. We will continue to consult fully and fairly with staff and their union representatives in reaching a final decision.”
A key strategic aim will be to ensure that Oxfam’s work is always safe, feminist and, wherever possible, led by partners which are part of the social fabric in the places it operates.
Key structural changes proposed today include bringing together Oxfam GB’s campaigning and international programme support to create an integrated impact division that will address some of the world’s most pressing drivers of poverty and inequality. This new division will focus on protecting the poorest and most vulnerable communities during the Covid pandemic and from climate change, and work to break down the barriers that prevent many millions of women around the world from earing a decent living.
The organisation is also planning to create a new Supporter Engagement division that aims to promote a more joined up approach to supporter activities ranging from shopping to social media to working with corporate partners.
Oxfam GB, which currently employs about 2040 people in its British operations, estimates that the temporary closure of its shops and cancellation of fundraising events because of the need to combat Covid-19 costs it around £5m-a-month. This comes on top of an already challenging fundraising environment for the charity sector. Shops are due to begin reopening on June 15, but the trading outlook remains deeply uncertain.
The organisation said that it was grateful for the continued strong support from institutional donors and hundreds of thousands of individual members of the public. Recent exceptional legacy income is helping it weather the economic impact of Covid-19 while expanding its work to protect communities from the coronavirus by providing clean water, sanitation public health promotion activities.
Sriskandarajah said: “I am immensely grateful to our supporters whose generosity is vital in funding our vital work – today’s announcement is about ensuring that during the next decade we make best possible use of the money they give us.”
Notes to editors
The consultation on the strategic reorganisation was originally due to begin in March but was delayed and the content of the proposals amended because of the impact of the coronavirus.
Oxfam GB began a strategic review in Summer 2019 which has informed the proposals.
The proposals are the latest stage in an ongoing review of operations across the global Oxfam confederation to maximise its effectiveness in fighting poverty over the next decade https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/oxfam-accelerates-new-strategic-changes-its-global-operations
Today’s announcement relates to Oxfam’s operations in England, Scotland and Wales. It does not cover Northern Ireland.