Oxfam GB has transferred half of the country offices it previously owned to the charity’s affiliates and plans to sign over the remainder by next year, according to its latest accounts.
This process has led to the closure of three regional centres with 126 redundancies, 13 of which were in the UK.
The charity provided £10.4m to its International Secretariat in 2016/17, up from £8m the previous year, for it to manage the transfer of resources from Oxfam GB to other affiliates.
The number of countries that report directly to Oxfam GB reduced from 45 to 35 in 2016/17.
During the year it transferred Oxfam GB staff and assets to management by Oxfam Netherlands in Cambodia, Vietnam, Niger and Nigeria; and Oxfam Spain in Honduras, Bolivia and Guatemala.
It closed three Oxfam GB regional centres in Latin America and the Caribbean, Southern Africa and Asia during 2016/17. In the first half of 2017/18, meanwhile, it closed regional centres covering the Middle East and North Africa, the Horn, East and Central Africa and West Africa.
Oxfam GB cut its workforce by 177, 3.3 per cent, during 2016/17. Redundancy costs were £2.6m, almost double the £1.4m spent the previous year when it cut its workforce by 57.
A spokeswoman for the charity said 113 international staff and 13 UK-based staff were made redundant as part of the charity’s reorganisation.
She said: “We closed our Oxfam GB regional centres and reduced the number of Oxfam GB staff within countries, which required us to make some staff redundant at a cost of £2.6m. These are one-off costs and will save money in the long-term.”
In an introduction to the report, Oxfam GB says: “This internationalisation process has been a challenging journey, as it involves Oxfam GB giving up power.
“In the past, we managed, spent and accounted for the money we raised from the British public and institutions. Now, we share this responsibility with others, and act as a partner rather than a manager. Despite the challenges, we are making significant progress.”
Oxfam GB’s income decreased by 1.5 per cent to £408.6m in 2016/17 from its highest ever level of £414.7m the previous year.
Part of the reason for this drop was a £17.7m reduction in funding from the UK government, partly as a result of the ending of its Partnership Programme Arrangement with the Department for International Development.
Oxfam GB’s EU funding rose by £2.9m, meanwhile, and its income from trading sales increased by £4.6m.
The charity plans to invest in its retail function, which reported a 22 per cent increase in online sales in 2016/17, including recruiting more than 200 deputy shop managers to “help manage the increasing demands placed upon our shop managers”.
Oxfam GB also plans to increase the frequency and quality of its training for shops staff and volunteers.
It has developed a network strategy to ensure its shops are located in the right places and will develop new shop formats to help grow sales.
The charity will also invest in new technology to develop its shops’ online sales and work to increase gift aid revenue from donated sales, “an area where other large charity shop chains have performed better”.
Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “E-commerce is an exciting area of growth for Oxfam. We have seen a spike in sales as more and more of our high street shops list products for sale online – growth which looks set to increase even further this year and raise even more vital funds to fight poverty and injustice around the world.”