Oxfam has begun a major restructuring of its international services, including a significant number of redundancies, the charity's finance director has said.
In an interview with Charity Finance magazine, Alison Hopkinson, director of finance and information services at Oxfam GB, said “a lot of people” would be made redundant as part of the changes, scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Hopkinson described the restructuring as “the biggest change in [the charity’s] history”.
The restructuring involves cutting down the number of country directors it employs from up to seven to one in each of the more than 90 countries in which it operates.
“Having seven managing directors of a country, trying to manage seven different strategies, didn’t make sense, so now we have one strategy for each country,” Hopkinson said.
This has meant making “a lot of people redundant” but she said this was necessary to increase the charity’s impact while reducing costs.
“The end game total makes sense to me, it is just getting there that is the painful thing,” she said.
The changes will also bring the charity’s 20 overseas affiliates, many of which were separate entities before joining the organisation, under the Oxfam International banner.
Oxfam has said the move is part of the charity’s intention to “move power to the South”. Other measures it has taken to do this include the previously announced move of Oxfam International’s head office to Nairobi, Kenya.
Other affiliates will be given more autonomy, including Oxfam India being able to do its own fundraising.
The charity is also setting up “regional nodes” in areas including Asia, Africa, Middle East and North Africa to provide back office support to local offices including HR and finances.
The charity’s plan to restructure its overseas services was initially due to start in 2015.
In Charity Finance
In 2013, Oxfam announced a restructuring of its domestic operations, which it said would result in the loss of 125 UK jobs.
This reshape was announced as part of a shift in Oxfam’s strategy, which included focusing more of its resources on a smaller number of poorer countries.
At the time, it said stage two of the restructure would commence in 2015 and focus on its international programmes, “working closely with the 16 other Oxfams around the world”.
“The resulting savings will be reinvested in enhanced programmes to help eradicate poverty,” it added.
- The full interview will appear in the next issue of Charity Finance magazine.