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Charity boards should communicate redundancies to staff, says NPC report

Charity boards should communicate redundancies to staff, says NPC report
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Charity boards should communicate redundancies to staff, says NPC report 3

Governance | Vibeka Mair | 29 Jun 2011

Trustees should take responsibility for difficult announcements at charities such as redundancies, according to a new report from New Philanthropy Capital.

The report, Stories from the boardroom, provides an overview of seminars held with chairs and chief executives of charities this spring; organised by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and the Clothworkers’ Company.

Seminar participants noted that issues like closing services or losing staff could be incredibly stressful for the executive team, and recommended that trustees take responsibility for communicating these difficult decisions.

“It may be more palatable for announcements about redundancies to come from the board,” the report said. “Given that it is distanced from day-to-day life at the charity.”

Culture clashes hinder mergers

The report also addressed mergers, with participants noting that a major barrier to charity mergers were culture clashes, and rarely financial or legal questions.

NPC trustee Harvey McGrath said: “It tends to be personal and cultural differences between the two charities and fears about loss of power, jobs or identity that are major stumbling blocks”.

Further, Stephen Lloyd, a partner at Bates Wells and Braithwaite,who also attended the seminars, said he’d seen culture clashes and concerns about who should be chair of the new or merged organisation “torpedo” mergers in the past.

McGrath emphasised that trustees needed to put time and effort into getting on and should tackle culture clashes and concerns upfront.

Julia Palca, who told the seminar about the 2008 merger of Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancerbackup, said it was crucial to communicate any changes to charity's staff, volunteer, beneficiaries, funders and other stakeholders.

"Trustees should not underestimate people's emotional investment in issues such as a charity's brand or location," she stressed.

Amanda Bringans
30 Jun 2011

I completely support Mark's commment. Quite frankly if the leadership team can't announce bad news they shouldn't be in the job. Where on earth did this idea come from?

Stolen
1 Jul 2011
Response to [Amanda Bringans]

ACEVO?

Mark Winstanley
Director of HR & Corporate Affairs
Rethink
30 Jun 2011

Trustee's announcing such things is totaly impractical in large dispused charities and confuses governance and management. The executive team may find it stressful, but that is what they are paid to do.

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