Barnardo's furloughs 3,000 staff as a third of its income is 'wiped away overnight'

30 Mar 2020 News

Javed Khan, former chief executive of Barnardo’s

Barnardo's will furlough up to 3,000 staff after a third of its income was “wiped away literally overnight”, its chief executive said this morning.  

Javed Khan, who was speaking on BBC Radio 4, said that the charity will be furloughing 3,000 of its 8,000 staff on full pay because its income has dropped so significantly. He also urged the government to finalise a support package for the sector. 

The charity normally generates about £25m a month, and its estimates show that income has dropped about £8m already.

The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500. Barnardo's will top up the remainder, ensuring staff receive their full wages.

“These are the very people we are going to need when we come out the other end of this crisis, as without them we will not be able to deliver our services,” he said. 

“In terms of government we feel like the poor relation at the moment”, he added. Khan referenced the prime minister's promise that the sector would receive a dedicated support package, but noted that nothing has been seen yet.

“We need the government to deploy some hard and soft power to help charities get through this. I think we would welcome automatically deferring all PAYE and national insurance for three months. We can apply for it but it is not guaranteed at the moment.”

He continued: “Government should make Gift Aid a priority payment. There should not be a time lag that we have to suffer and there should be a clear message to commissioners about honouring commitments to the voluntary sector to pay us quickly because otherwise we just won't survive.”

Directory of Social Change furloughs 70% of its staff

Elsewhere, the Directory of Social Change (DSC) has furloughed almost 70% of its staff due to the effects of Covid-19.

This was effective from 5pm on Friday 27 March and is due to the charity's lack of income during the pandemic.

Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of DSC, issued a statement which said: “As you may be aware we are almost entirely self-financing. This is, in normal times, a strong and reliable funding model. We essentially fund our work supporting charities through sales of our events, publications and funding website. 

“However, because of this situation our income has almost completely dried up for the time being, although we are confident that this is a short-term situation and we will bounce back later in the year.

“We understand that many of you are in the same boat and our hearts bleed for you and those you are trying to serve. We will still be doing our level best to provide you with information and support to help you to both survive and continue your vital work and we are working hard with sector colleagues to get more resources into our sector,” she added.

DSC will be maintaining and updating its funds online database, researching new and additional sources of funding, developing online resources to help people who are working from home, campaigning with sector colleagues for support for the wider sector, and keeping charities updated with sources of help and advice.

Oxfam GB has also announced that it will be furloughing up to two-thirds of its staff.

Furloughed employees and volunteering 

Furloughed employees will be able to volunteer in their communities to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but not at their usual organisations.

A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their own organisation.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to claim up to 80% of furloughed employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

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