IOP sets a prudent budget to focus on its core work

6 January 2014

The IOP's plans for managing the budget for next year have moved further ahead.

Its Council has adopted a prudent approach in planning for a range of scenarios as the Institute faces a number of financial pressures, in particular uncertainty around future income and expenditure commitments.

The agreed budget involves a 20% reduction in overall spending over the next two years. Savings will be achieved through a mix of staff reductions and some prioritisation of the IOP's current activities. The aim is to meet the targeted staff reductions as far as possible through existing unfilled vacancies and voluntary redundancies.

A group of the Institute's trustees, chaired by the IOP's president, Frances Saunders, has been working since October to advise on the prioritisation process, with particular focus on areas of work that it judged could only be delivered by the IOP, in line with its charitable objectives. The group advised that these areas were likely to be core to the Institute's programme and should continue in full wherever possible.

In some areas the group's advice was that other organisations could also deliver equivalent impact and that therefore it was likely that the Institute could safely either reduce the programme, look to find partners to work with, or seek alternative sources of income.

There were other areas where the group advised that it was unconvinced of the impact of the work or its importance to the IOP's mission and that it should therefore be put on hold or stopped. However, if external funding can be found for projects which have been put on hold, they may well still go ahead. They may also go ahead if additional money can be released from the IOP's contingency fund during the year.

In November, the IOP’s Council reviewed budget proposals based on the group’s advice. Despite having to reduce spending by some 20%, the Council endorsed continuing support to core areas such as membership activities in the IOP's branches and groups, educational priorities, breaking down barriers to physics, and the Institute’s science policy work.

The IOP will provide updated information for members as the details of the Institute's plans are finalised. Members who are involved with specific Institute programmes will be briefed directly by their main IOP staff contacts.