Young people's charity CXK advertises for new £95,000-a-year chief executive to turn around first financial deficit

A charity which helps young people find employment is advertising for a new chief executive with a salary of £95,000 after a period of turmoil.

The new boss of CXK, based in Ashford, will be joining the organisation after it recorded a deficit for the first time in its history despite cutting staffing costs by more than £2 milion.

The vacancy came about after its previous chief executive Sean Kearns resigned in February after five and a half years in the job.

Sean Kearns stepped down as chief executive of CXK in February
Sean Kearns stepped down as chief executive of CXK in February

Since then it has been run by interim boss Matthew Roberts, who is contracted until at least the end of October.

Mr Kearns resigned less than a year after the exit of two other members of the charity’s executive team as it recorded a first ever deficit of £121,000, after a £657,000 surplus in 2014, according to its latest accounts filed to the Charities Commission.

Stephen Bell, who had joined CXK following a merger with youth organisation KCFN, of which he was chief executive, left in May last year to help another children’s charity.

Then in September, Lynn Hyder left at the end of her six-month probationary period as director of fundraising.

CXK runs jobs fairs for young people and adults
CXK runs jobs fairs for young people and adults

Previously, company secretary Venetia Carpenter had resigned in February 2015 and trustees Julie Anderson and Louis Hurst resigned in September and October 2014.

The charity’s accounts for the year to the end of March 2015 show £520,000 was paid to RAP Interiors, where Mrs Anderson is a director, for the refurbishment its head office in the Old Court, Ashford.

Amelix, run by Mr Hurst, was also paid £16,864 to install a fibre-optic broadband line.

Both former trustees said their companies had won the contracts after an open tender process.

CXK chairman David Philpott said: “Companies owned by trustees are not restricted from providing services to a charity as long as they are subject to competition, all personal interests are fully declared to the charity and the individuals are not party to any discussions or decisions on the awarding of a contract.

CXK opens its new head office in the Old Court in Ashford in 2014
CXK opens its new head office in the Old Court in Ashford in 2014

“In view of the scale and complexity of the contract to renovate the Old Court, CXK appointed an independent building surveyor and contract manager to advise on the selection of contractors.

“Their work was managed through a JCT Management Building Contract to ensure the work was delivered on time, to a high standard and at the best price possible.”

Mr Philpott said there are always resignations as trustees are appointed for up to three years, although they can be re-elected.

He added the charity is undergoing a diversification strategy to make it less reliant on shrinking local authority funding.

CXK chairman David Philpott
CXK chairman David Philpott

None of the changes in the executive team and trustees are connected in any way to the reduction in overall income, or expenditure on staffing in the last year, he said.

“The changing nature of the contracts we operate, their reduction in funding levels and revised timing of payments has seen a change in the way we now have to operate,” said Mr Philpott.

“These are reflected in regular variations to our cash flow, changes in staffing levels and a deficit being recorded at the end of March 2015.”

The closing date for applicants for its new chief executive job is Friday, August 26.

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