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Oxfam's income rose to record £427m despite fundraising slump after Haiti scandal

04 Jan 2019 News

Oxfam’s income rose by £20m to a record level of £427m despite a drop in money from fundraising following the sexual misconduct scandal in Haiti.

The charity has said the reduction in fundraising income has affected the charity’s ability to perform “vital work”.

According to the charity’s annual report and accounts for the year to March 2018, income from donations and legacies fell by £15m compared to the previous year.

The report said the Haiti scandal, which came to light in February 2018, led to a downturn in Oxfam’s fundraising income in the final weeks of 2017/18 but added that “the full impact remains to be seen”.

In his introduction to the report, outgoing chief executive Mark Goldring said that since last February some supporters had cancelled their contributions, while many institutional donors froze existing or new funding.

He said: “Although most of these institutions have now resumed funding after conducting their own audits, there has been an inevitable and continuing effect on our capacity to carry out vital work.

“Wherever possible, we have sought to limit the impact on frontline programmes – the recent redundancies, beyond the timeframe of this annual report, have been a painful but important part of that effort.

“I would like personally to thank and pay tribute to the many dedicated colleagues who will be leaving us.”

Nevertheless, Oxfam recorded its highest ever income in 2017/18 of £427.2m, due to a £30m rise in its income from charitable activities.

The vast majority of this rise was due to a £27m rise in income from Oxfam’s international affiliates, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands.

Oxfam also recorded a £1m increase in net proceeds from the People’s Postcode Lottery, up to £2.3m in 2017/18.

Meanwhile, the charity's average number of full-time equivalent staff during the year fell by more than 200 from 4,986 to 4,747.

However, the amount it spent on termination costs was only £1.2m, less than £2.6m the previous year.

New safeguarding procedures

In his introduction, Goldring said the Haiti scandal had led to an increase in the number of people reporting abuse.

He said the charity would “investigate their allegations carefully and thoroughly” and wherever misconduct is found “take decisive and appropriate action”.

Goldring said Oxfam has tripled its safeguarding resources, set up a confidential whistleblowing hotline, changed the way it take references, and ensured that its leadership team and trustees have greater oversight of policy and practice.

He also said the charity is committed to act on recommendations made by the Digital Culture Media and Sport select committee as well as any suggestions made by the Charity Commission’s finding from its ongoing inquiry into the charity.

Danny Sriskandarajah is due to take over from Goldring as Oxfam chief executive this month.

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