Barnardo’s has announced a ten-year strategy which will aim to grow income by a third and change its relationship with commissioners, in order to cope with a predicted 25 per cent increase in beneficiaries.
The charity aims to grow its income to £400m in the next few years, and hopes to do so largely by doubling the amount of funds for charitable application from its shops chain and fundraising department. It expects to grow the number of vulnerable children it works with from 248,000 at present to over 300,000.
In an interview with Civil Society News, Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s (pictured), said the plans were a response to data which showed that child poverty was increasing.
“We’ve spent the last 18 months completely rethinking everything we do,” he said. “We’ve got to develop the resources and secure the income to meet the scale of the challenge.”
Khan said that recruitment is among the things the charity will re-examine. Although it is not currently expecting to significantly increase staff numbers to match the growth of income, it intends to change the way that it recruits to improve diversity – in part to ensure that it is better at recruiting its own former beneficiaries.
Will become a 'digital-first' organisation
The charity has also hired a chief digital officer who will be tasked with overhauling the charity to become a “digital first” organisation, in order to meet the needs of its beneficiaries.
“We want to completely reinvent that part of our service,” Khan said. “The children we support now were born into a digital environment. To reach them, that’s where we need to be.”
Barnardo’s will also attempt to focus its efforts more tightly on key priorities, which will involve reviewing how many of the 966 services it currently offers will continue.
Khan said Barnardo’s was recommitting to its original idea that it will stick with any child which needs the charity for as long as necessary, and that it needed the resources and approach to ensure that it was able to do so.
Plans to change the way local authorities commission
To do this, the charity also has ambitious plans to change the way local authorities commission children’s services. Khan said he wants the charity to work more with public sector commissioners to help them design and commission services, rather than waiting for contracts to be advertised and then bidding for them.
“At the moment the local authority decides what service it wants to offer and ten organisations bid for it,” he said. “One wins and the other nine have wasted their time and money. It’s wasteful.
“At the moment 78 per cent of the contracts we bid for, we win, so we don’t need to do this, but we want to help local government improve efficiencies and improve outcomes.”
Khan said he also wanted closer links with small charities. He said Barnardo’s was not planning on getting any of its income growth from mergers, but that he wanted to help small charities doing good local work by offering back-office support.