A chance for WRAP to shape its own destiny
WRAP boss Liz Goodwin reflects on what the recent Spending Review budget cuts will mean for the future of the organisation she leads
Yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne announced deep cuts to Government spending over the next two years to tackle the budget deficit. That included a cut to Defra's revenue programme.
Cuts usually involve pain. Defra is one of WRAP's funders so we have fully expected to take our part of that pain. We have not made any special pleading for WRAP. I was keen to ensure we played our part in tackling the deficit.
I see it like this. Less than half of WRAP's funding comes from Defra. Although the cut in funding is deep, it will not stop us being a highly-effective organisation and it won't stop us making a real difference. That was a key point we've been making in our discussions with Defra over the past months.
I wanted to make sure the budget wasn't reduced so much that it made us ineffective but that it allowed us to continue to make a real contribution to the economy and the environment. It was also important that it didn't jeopardise the important work we are doing for the Scottish and Welsh Governments. I am pleased they completely agreed.
To be clear, a cut of this size cannot simply be absorbed with 'business as usual'. It will mean real change for the way WRAP works. Less money means we can do fewer things for Defra. So it is critical we focus on big priorities and make a big difference, not play around with lots of small initiatives.
It will almost certainly mean we will need to look for a contribution from partners for some of the things we have, in the past, done for free, if we are to be able to carry on doing them. This is the commercial reality!
Most importantly, we have used the last six months to completely rethink the way WRAP will do business in future to make us more resilient. Yes, WRAP has done great work. We have made a real difference. We have a great offer. We value our existing funders highly, but the job in future will also be to look for new sources of funding to further diversify our funding base.
We are currently developing the strategy to deliver that, and I will have more to say about it in the coming months. More than anything, I have been heartened by the way that, over the past few months, it hasn't just been WRAP saying we do a great job, make a real difference and deliver value. Our partners have been saying it too.
WRAP is at heart an organisation that works in partnership, turning insight into practical action, bringing people together to make something happen that wouldn't have happened otherwise - and delivering real benefits. So that endorsement from our partners for the power of our insight, our convening power and ability to make a difference is spurring us on.
This morning, I briefed WRAP staff on these latest developments. I made it clear I feel very optimistic about WRAP's future. This is a great chance for WRAP to shape its own destiny rather than constantly live under the cloud of Government funding reviews.
Dr Liz Goodwin is chief executive of WRAP