AHDB to reduce operational costs by £7.8m

AHDB to reduce operational costs by £7.8m

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has announced it will be making £7.8 million of reductions from their annual staff and overheads budget of £29 million.

AHDB chairman Nicholas Saphir.

The reductions, AHDB stated, are part of plans to reduce operational costs and improve efficiency outlined in the AHDB’s Change Programme for 2021 to 2026. The AHDB explained that reductions of around £6 million will come from the wind-down of the Horticulture and Potato sectors.

The organisation stated that the plans will be put into action over the next two years, starting with key changes to their leadership team. Most of the reductions, AHDB added, will be in place by March 2022, with the remainder during 2022/23.

Further savings in general expenditure are planned by the organisation, including the number of senior managers being cut from 20 to 14, a reduction of 30%.

AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said: “This new structure puts a clear focus on day-to-day delivery across all our knowledge exchange, technical, market intelligence, exports and marketing work. At the same time, there will be an absolute focus on levy payer engagement and involvement in planning sector priorities and programmes.”

AHDB is also reviewing the office provision at its Stoneleigh headquarters.

Interim CEO Ken Boyns said: “As part of a further phase of savings in 2022/23 we have identified the opportunity of subletting part of our Stoneleigh HQ.

“The reduction in work for Potatoes and Horticulture, combined with the last 18 months proving we can deliver effectively without all staff in the office five days a week, means we do not need as much office space.”

“We have listened to demands”

Chair Nicholas Saphir added: “We have listened to levy payers’ demands for a reduction in operating costs and delivering better value for money through our services.

“Our key priority remains making a positive difference to farm businesses and helping to grow British agriculture through our key services, such as the Recommended List, market and trade data, developing emerging opportunities through exports and protecting the industry’s reputation with consumers.”

Saphir added that AHDB will ask levy payers to register to vote this autumn, prior to having their say on those topics in spring 2022. The company will announce more details about this in the early autumn of 2021.

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