RSPCA members back major changes to the charity’s governance

02 Jul 2019 News

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RSPCA members voted in favour of restructuring the charity’s board, introducing term limits for trustees and changing its terminology, at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Saturday. 

A wide-ranging governance review took place earlier this year and consultation with members began in February. 

RSPCA’s governance has been called into question a number of times in recent years, and in 2018 the Charity Commission issued an official warning over its handling of a settlement paid to its acting chief executive.  

Over 90 per cent of members at the AGM – which took place in London and Leeds – voted in favour of the proposed reforms. 

This includes halving the size of its board to nine national elected members and three co-opted trustees to ensure the right mix of skills. Branch trustees will no longer be able to also be a trustee of the national body at the same time.

An election will now take place for all nine of the national trustee posts over the summer and those who have already served for nine continuous years will not be eligible to stand. New trustees will be in post by October. 

A new branch affairs committee has been created to report to the new board of trustees. 

Trustees will step down after nine years and have to wait three years before they are eligible to sit on the board again. 

RSPCA has also updated its language. It previously referred to its non-executive board as the “council” but will now call it the “board of trustees”, in line with most other large charities. 

Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA has been at the forefront of animal welfare for 195 years and the charity has been committed to modernising the way it is governed to ensure it can continue to be there for all animals long into the future. The changes voted for on Saturday 29 June by the membership represent the final step in a bold set of reforms. 

“These changes will result in a smaller, more nimble, national board, in line with other major charities. It will ensure membership is refreshed regularly, bringing in different ideas and skills, and make being a trustee of the RSPCA more accessible and attractive to a wider range of people.”

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