Humanitarian consultancy to merge with Save the Children UK

26 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

Charity Save the Children UK has announced it will incorporate a former subsidiary charity into its main organisation, to help it become “financially sustainable”. The Humanitarian Leadership Academy is a charity which provides humanitarian consulting services to international partner organisations.

As the dismantling of the UK’s social security net continues to progress, charities have once more become integral to the provision of some of the most basic and essential services citizens rely upon to survive. While the importance of the third sector could be said to be more important than ever before, it has come under intense pressure as demand for its services rapidly rises amid declining funding to charities from the UK Government.

At the same time, a number of charities are encountering a crisis of confidence, and a major decline in public favourability, thanks to a raft of damaging scandals to have hit leading names such as Oxfam in the last few years. As a result, the sector is going through a period of significant change, dealing with varying levels of public trust, increased regulation and Brexit uncertainty, as well as the recent resignation of the Civil Society Minister.

Humanitarian consultancy to merge with Save the Children UK

The impact of this period of upheaval for charities was illustrated last year when global professional services firm PA Consulting was called in by Scope to help lead an organisational change programme, as part of a five-year strategy. The disability charity did not bring in the level of donations in the year of 2016/17 that it had planned for, leading to the sale of a number of its assets since.

Now, two charities have announced a merger, as a means of consolidating their services in a difficult period. Save the Children UK, a high-profile third sector player, has announced it has acquired The Humanitarian Leadership Academy, which provides humanitarian consultancy to international partner organisations. Set up in 2012, the Academy became a subsidiary organisation of Save the Children in 2015, working since to reach full independence again to reach more local partner organisations. However, due to financial and strategic considerations, they have decided to move closer to Save the Children.

According to a spokesperson from the Academy, the charity will benefit from being part of a bigger brand, having faced “turbulent times” of late. Speaking to CivilSociety.co.uk, the source confirmed fundraising had been difficult in recent times, while the entity is working to become more sustainable. The charity’s most recently reported income was £6.4 million.

The merger with Save the Children will subsequently enable the Academy to reach out to more people, and benefit directly from Save the Children’s fundraising capabilities. The merger will happen on 30 April 2019, with the charity retaining its offices, sitting within a Save the Children UK department, and keeping its own branding and identity. According to the Academy, no jobs will be lost as a result of this merger.

The spokesperson added, “In recent months the Academy and Save the Children entered into strategic discussions to understand what this would mean in practice for both organisations. There has been a lot to consider and we concluded that in these turbulent times, consolidation rather than separation was the best approach."

Humanitarian Leadership Academy Chief Executive Saba Al Mubaslat meanwhile stated, “The merger with Save the Children UK is the next phase in our journey. It secures our future, and will help us to gain strength, reach more people and save more lives.”

As mentioned, a growing number of charities have found the raising of funds increasingly difficult. In order to address this trend, the CEO of a fundraising consultancy recently warned the UK charity scene that it must better engage with storytelling if it is to boost stagnant levels of donations. Caroline Underwood, who heads Philanthropy Company, said the third sector would do well to spend more time considering how to make information better accessible to its major donors.


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