Government

WRAP funding issues to lead to the loss of 25 jobs

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced that it is set to undergo fundamental changes due to funding issues, which is anticipated to lead to the loss of around 25 jobs.

In a statement, WRAP Chief Executive Marcus Gover today (17 January) announced the changes deemed necessary if WRAP is to continue its work on driving sustainable production and consumption while remaining financially stable.

WRAP funding issues to lead to the loss of 25 jobs
Successive cuts to government funding and difficulties in diversifying its revenue streams mean that WRAP, which leads much of the UK’s policy and engagement work on resource efficiency and management, now has to cut fixed costs in order to mitigate the significant drop in income it has experienced since 2015.

These costs are likely to be recouped through job cuts, thought to affect around 25 members of staff. Resource understands that staff have been informed of the job cuts and how these are to be carried out is now subject to a formal consultation process, which is currently underway.

Furthermore, while WRAP cannot specify where redundancies will fall while the consultation is ongoing, there has been a detailed and collaborative process to understand which areas can have the most impact in the future and what resources are needed to support them. This process has informed the proposed structure.

“We are in an environment where there is continued pressure on public spending, as well as ongoing economic uncertainty, and WRAP is not immune to that,” said Gover. “We have been able to achieve great results by combining our resources with others to achieve impact with less funding, and that approach will continue. But we have now reached a point where we also need to make significant costs savings.

“Sadly, we cannot achieve the scale of savings we need without losing staff. This has been a difficult decision and is always a last resort. I am determined that the process of redundancy will be as fair and as compassionate as possible.

“The redesign will enable WRAP to accelerate its transition to an organisation which catalyses change through partnership. We will need to focus on the areas where we can make the biggest impact. We will also need increased support, including financial, from existing and future business partners.

“There is still a lot of important work to be done and there is a great opportunity to capitalise on the gathering momentum to tackle issues like food waste, recycling and reducing the impact of plastics on the environment. WRAP will continue to play a leading role, working with governments, businesses and citizens, in achieving a world where resources are used sustainably.”

WRAP plays a significant role at the forefront of the drive to increase resource efficiency and reduce waste in the UK and around the world. In recent years, WRAP has taken the lead on programmes such as the Courtauld 2025 Commitment, a voluntary agreement for the food industry that aims to reduce food waste by 20 per cent by 2025, and the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to reduce household food waste, as well as releasing a consistency framework for household waste recycling in England to increase participation and decrease contamination of kerbside recycling services.

WRAP has been subject to sustained budgetary cuts since 2010, seeing its funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) fall from £56 million in 2009/10 down to £15.5 million in 2015/16, a decrease of 72 per cent, while the current 2017/18 budget is below £10 million.

These budgetary pressures led WRAP to obtain charitable status in 2014 in a bid to diversify its funding base, a move which also saw Zero Waste Scotland, the then Scottish branch of WRAP, break away from the main WRAP body to begin operating as a corporation in mid-2014.

While the job cuts announced today relate to the main WRAP organisation, WRAP cannot rule out job losses to its Welsh offshoot, WRAP Cymru, as it awaits a decision on its future funding from the Welsh Government, with its current funding apparatus, in the form of a core grant and a large supply contract, set to end by the end of 2018/19.