Two disability charities have announced they are entering into a “overarching” partnership which would see them share facilities and frontline delivery staff – but have stopped short of a full merger.
Enable Scotland and Sense Scotland made a joint announcement over the long weekend, saying the two organisations had entered into an “innovative group structure, thought to be the first of its kind in the charity sector in Scotland”.
The two charities will share “property and resources in an overarching group structure,” which the organisations say will “enable them to reach even more disabled people throughout Scotland”.
A spokesman for the new group denied however that the two organisations were set to merge. He said both organisations would continue to have separate chief executives and trustee boards and would retain their individual charity brands as part of the arrangement.
According to the two organisations most recent set of accounts filed with OSCR, Enable Scotland had a total income of over £34.5m in the last financial year, while Sense had an income of £22.0m.
Possible redundancies in back offices
The organisations have said that “all frontline jobs” currently being performed at both charities “will be protected” but conceded that “a small minority of affected back office staff” will be asked to “explore alternative career options across both organisations”.
The spokesman would not say how many back office staff would be affected. He reiterated the statement from both organisations which said that both Enable and Sense Scotland will be “working with their recognised Trade Unions during the process”.
Both Sense Scotland and Enable Scotland say this “collaboration” will help the two organisations to “reach even more disabled people throughout Scotland” in the future. It will also help the organisations share costs so that “frontline services and jobs” can be protected.
According to its accounts, Sense Scotland employed 900 staff. While Enable Scotland’s aemployed 1,767.
The organisations have said the move to a group structure will likely take a year, and that consultations with “staff and wider stakeholders” was expected.
Organisation chief executives invite other charities to join 'collaboration'
Andy Kerr, chief executive of Sense Scotland and Theresa Shearer, chief executive of Enable Scotland, have also called on other Scottish disability charities to join the “collaboration”.
Kerr and Shearer said: “ENABLE Scotland and Sense Scotland are joining together to further boost the quality of care and help for more disabled people.
“Our shared vision is delivering the support needed for disabled people to live the lives they choose, in their own homes and local communities.
“By bringing two strong charities together, we will accelerate change and improvement for disabled people, and for the dedicated staff who care for them.
“Ultimately, we are doing this to help share the cost of continuing to deliver quality care and support to those who need it in their own homes.”
Editor's note: This article has updated both annual income figures and the total number of staff working for Enable Scotland last year.