AS GREATER ‘EFFICIENCY NEEDS FEWER PEOPLE’
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is to cut 135 jobs as it faces a shortfall in funds and more people than ever are calling for its help. On Sept 10, the charity’s new chief executive Mark Dowie said: “We have to make some very difficult decisions. This includes the proposals, after a period of consultation, to reduce our staff by 135, which comprises 95 permanent jobs and 40 that are temporary positions that won’t be extended or current vacancies that will not be filled.
“We must do things in a more efficient way and this means we will need fewer people.
“Most of the redundancies will be based at the RNLI’s Support Centre in Poole as we look to focus on our frontline services and provide support at a local level.
“All areas of our work are being looked at and we are reducing costs wherever we can as part of a programme to get us back to living within our means,” said Mr Dowie, a senior banker who took over on May 15.
In response to the cuts plan, the RNLI came under attack about its international work, particularly its drowning reduction where the World Health Organization estimates that 320,000 drown each year worldwide.
It was accused of misleading donors who thought they were donating to save lives in the UK and Ireland and are now surprised to learn that money is going overseas.
The RNLI responded: “We currently spend less than two per cent of our total annual expenditure on this activety and we actively seek donations specifically for this work.
“Providing the very best search and rescue service in the UK and Ireland remains our priority, but we are proud to use our expertise, knowledge and influence to help others save lives across the world.
“Since 2012, there has been a steady increase in international expenditure that reflects the increase in the number of projects.”
As to why it is involved in creches in Bangladesh, the RNLI said: “This programme helps reduce children’s risk of drowning by ensuring they have close supervision throughout the day.
“Run by local women, these facilities provide a secure place away from open water for children aged 1 - 4 to play and learn important skills.”
Having been accused of being hung up on political correctness, the RNLI said: “We take our ethical and legal responsibilities very seriously and we expect our staff and volunteers to behave appropriately towards each other, supporters and members of the public We do no consider this political correctness.”
Founded in 1824, the RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands.