We've reduced compulsory job losses following consultation

a leaf in the autumn sunlight at Knightshayes
Published : 08 Oct 2020

Following the biggest redundancy consultation in the National Trust’s 125-year history, we can today confirm that we’ve been able to almost halve the number of proposed compulsory job losses at the charity.

After considering more than 14,500 pieces of feedback from staff and volunteers during the 45-day consultation, we’re making 514 compulsory redundancies as a result of the impact of the coronavirus crisis. We’ve also accepted 782 voluntary redundancies. These will help us to save about £100m to support our conservation work each year.

In July, we announced that job losses and budget cuts were inevitable after almost every aspect of the charity’s income was hit by the coronavirus crisis. We proposed making almost 1,200 compulsory redundancies, saving £60m of our annual staff budget. But following a wide-ranging consultation with affected staff, the number of compulsory job losses has reduced by half.

A number of roles will now be retained

Following the consultation, a number of changes have been made to the original proposals, including retaining roles focused on helping children learn, keeping curation specialists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, increasing buildings maintenance roles, and introducing new specialist roles for land use, soils and carbon reduction. There have also been changes in other areas covering marketing, retail, holidays, IT, legal and the let estate. 

Director General Hilary McGrady paid tribute to staff, volunteers and members who have shared their views on the proposals, and vowed the Trust would ‘grow back stronger in the long-run’ with its plans putting it on course for a secure financial future.

She said: ‘It’s with deep sadness that we have to make redundancies. I certainly don’t want to stop any of the extraordinary work done by the people of the National Trust. 

‘But our consultation has done as intended. It provided proposals to reach our savings target, and sparked such thorough feedback and collective intelligence, that we’ve been able to adapt our plans while still making the savings we needed. It’s been a difficult process with some very hard choices.

‘I want to thank everyone who has been involved – especially those whose jobs have been affected and the members and volunteers who care so passionately about the Trust. They’ve really tested the ideas put forward, and helped shape our proposals so that we are in the best possible position to recover well.’

" This is a very painful time for so many organisations, businesses and communities. The Trust is only as strong as it is because of its people - our staff, volunteers and supporters."

‘No leader wants to be forced into announcing any redundancies, but coronavirus means we simply have no other choice if we want to give the charity a sustainable future. We have exhausted every other avenue to find savings, but sadly we now have to come to terms with the fact that we will lose some colleagues. We will do all we can to support those who are leaving, and others affected by these significant changes.

‘In making these changes now, I am confident we will be well-placed to face the challenges ahead, protecting the places that visitors love and nature needs, and ensuring our conservation work continues long into the future.’

Savings will be made in other areas

In addition to staff redundancies, we’ve also confirmed that we’ll save about £41m from non-pay budget cuts, including reducing travel and office costs, reducing marketing and print spend in favour of digital, renegotiating contracts, reducing IT spend and introducing more efficient processes to manage key areas of the charity.

We’ve already announced we’re stopping or deferring £124m of projects, and we’ve introduced a recruitment freeze to reduce our staff costs. To help us get through the short-term impacts of the crisis we also drew on the Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus loan scheme and we’re grateful for support from some rescue and stimulus packages being offered by the government.

While these measures have helped reduce the financial impact, Hilary McGrady said the short-term hit, coupled with the longer-term implications of social distancing and suppressed trading, led to a full review of the charity’s spending and priorities.

Bringing people closer to nature, beauty and history

Since May we’ve reopened the places that we care for following government guidance, and by the end of September we’d welcomed more than five million visitors. And this week Hilary McGrady pledged the National Trust would ‘grow back stronger in the long-run’. 

She said: ‘While the UK continues its fight to manage coronavirus and while government restrictions remain in place, we will continue to open as many places as possible.

‘The places and things the National Trust cares for are needed now more than ever, and will continue to play an important role as our nations recuperate and recover their spirit and wellbeing. Our focus will remain on the benefit we deliver to people, every day. We must now focus on emerging from this crisis in a strong position.

‘Our purpose is to benefit the nations we serve and bring people closer to nature, beauty and history. That was the vision of our founders 125 years ago and it remains undiminished today. To achieve it we need to adapt to the changing world around us.’