Two senior staff have left National Lottery Community Fund since the summer

17 Nov 2021 News

Two senior members of staff have left the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) since the summer, the funder confirmed last week.

Elly de Decker, previously England director and a member of the NLCF’s senior management team, left her role earlier this year. Cassie Robinson, who was deputy director of funding strategy, has also left her position.

The NLCF advertised for a new England director in August. Both roles are still vacant.

The NLCF did not have a permanent chief executive for more than 10 months, until David Knott was named as the new permanent boss in October. His predecessor, Dawn Austwick, announced that she was stepping down in June 2020.

The NLCF is the largest charity funder in the country, distributing between £500m and £600m each year. It oversaw an additional £200m of grants as part of the government’s Covid-19 response in 2020.

Former NLCF director moves to Bromley by Bow Centre 

De Decker left the NLCF to join the Bromley by Bow Centre as its executive director. She started that position in October.

The charity is based in East London, and runs a medical practice and community research project while delivering 40 community projects across the local area.

De Decker said she was “delighted” to join the charity.

‘I will need to move on’

Robinson published a personal blog after Austwick announced her plans to leave the NLCF, saying that she was “concerned by who will come in her place. I’m not good at falling in line behind leaders whom I don’t respect”.

She wrote about the importance that communities had faith in the NLCF, adding: “Are we doing the very best we can by them? Will we under new leadership? If we are not, I will need to move on to a place where we are.”

Before becoming a deputy director, Robinson had overseen the NLCF’s digital strategy. She did not respond to a request for comment.

NLCF plans

A spokesperson for the NLCF said that the process to recruit a new England director was ongoing. They told Civil Society News: “We are still in the recruitment process and hope to be in a position to announce an appointment in due course.”

The spokesperson declined to say whether Robinson’s role will be replaced. 

They said: “Regarding the deputy director of funding strategy, this role is currently vacant with no decisions made as yet about recruiting for it. 

“If we do decide to recruit then we will advertise openly in our usual way.”


In a separate development last week, the NLCF faced heavy criticism over bullying allegations and the performance of senior staff and board members.

A report by CMP Solutions, commissioned by the government after allegations about the NLCF were published in The Times newspaper, said the organisation had “more to do” in efforts to provide staff with a “fair and inclusive workplace”.

David Knott pledged that the NLCF would take “urgent action” to address the concerns, including bringing in independent experts to help “improve culture and systems”.

There is no suggestion that de Decker's or Robinson's departure is connected to the inquiry report.

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