Statement from directors of UK ICOC, April 2003
All but three staff members made redundant
The following statement was posted on the ICOC’s official UK website in mid April 2003.
Statement from Directors
The board of directors met on 12th April to discuss the charity’s current financial situation and make some difficult decisions about the way forward
Over the last five months the contribution has dropped from over £250,000 per month to an estimated of £120, 000 for April with a further decline likely in May. At the same time a number of ministries have been actively considering withdrawing from the International Churches of Christ charity. On this basis the board were required to act quickly and decisively to prevent the church from becoming insolvent. The board were also keen to maintain the unity and the protection provided by the charity and do all they could to ensure the church can move forward on a new footing with greater local autonomy and involvement of the Christians, enabling the church to meet its purpose of bringing Christ to the UK.
Prior to the meeting on 12th April, the church was already in a one month redundancy consultation period required by law which was due to end on 17th April. Due to the factors noted above the directors decided the best approach whilst the church was still capable of meeting its obligations was for:
- All ministry staff to be made redundant on 17th April
Two administrative staff and one Kingdom Kids worker to be made redundant on 17th April
Four administrative staff to be made redundant on 31st May
At the end of May the church will have two administrative staff and one Kingdom Kids worker still on the payroll. This is the minimum the directors considered necessary to continue to run the finances of the church under UK law and to ensure that children in the Kids Kingdom are properly protected.
The staff who have been made redundant will receive the statutory minimum notice and redundancy pay required by law which equates to approximately one week’s pay for each completed year of service in the UK plus £260 for each completed year of service in the UK. There are various provisions which amend redundancy pay at the lower end to increase payments and at the higher end reduce payments. The total redundancy bill for the staff will be close to £300,000 which is an average of just over £5,000 each. The cost of these redundancies will be met from the sale of a vicarage which the church owns in North Finchley.
For those staff who were hired from outside the UK (who typically would need to remain working for the church to stay legally in the UK), the church will pay for flights to return to the place from which they were hired should they wish to do so. This is in addition to their statutory redundancy pay and covers four couples and one single. The church will not pay for relocation of goods.
Reimbursement of staff expenses including mileage and mobile phones will cease with effect from 17th April except for those ministries where the local leadership specifically asks for them to continue.
The Way Forward
The church is NOT winding up and will continue to meet on Sundays and at midweek, to run Kingdom Kids, to have invitations and to give benevolence etc ….The UK Churches’ “bare bones” monthly central operating costs are as follows
- Two administrative and one kingdom kids staff members’ salary, pension, employer’s National Insurance etc £8,500
Office rent, professional fees and small amounts for travel, phone, supplies and professional fees are about £10,000
The monthly cost of all local church meeting facilities, benevolence, non-staff travel, telephone, printing, copying, church meals, …. is about £55,000. Provided the contribution is above this level the church will continue to operate in its present form but without ministry staff.
The directors are aware of the concerns the disciples have expressed regarding the need for complete openness on the finances of the church and to have local control of how local donations are spent. Accordingly they have suggested that each ministry has their own local bank account which only has disciples from that ministry as signatories. The directors’ proposal is to have all local contribution transferred into this account and all local expenses paid from this account, including a monthly cheque to the central account to cover central costs. Local leaderships will be responsible for deciding their own budgets and prioritising needs in their local ministry without external direction.
Churches who wish to and who have sufficient contribution to be able to afford staff will be able to do so from June onwards. It may be possible to re-hire staff who have been made redundant in this round if the contribution is sufficient or to hire completely new staff. Churches who do not wish to hire staff will most likely build up a balance in their local bank account which will remain under their control.
The board has asked that the designated non-staff financial representatives of each church attend a meeting at the church office in London on 26th April to go through all of these issues in detail and liase with the local congregations. Assuming this plan meets with general approval they will then set up local lists of signatories and policies and procedures for payments with a view to local financial control coming into effect from 1st June.
The directors are keen for each ministry which presently does not have a local representative on the board to have one if they so wish and are asking the local leadership to propose possible candidates to be put forward to the board. Local leaderships should contact Nevil Lee in the church office if they wish to nominate a board member from their ministry.
Further reading: Read more about the ICOC’s finances.
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