A single RSPCA employee received an unexplained payment of up to £199,999 in 2017, according to the charity’s latest accounts.
The charity’s accounts for the year to December 2017 show a payment of between £190,000 and £199,999. But the charity’s salary for its chief executive – the highest paid member of staff – is only £150,000.
RSPCA has not said who received the payment. However Jeremy Cooper, the former chief executive, left with immediate effect in June last year, after around 15 months in charge, and was reported to have received a six-figure pay off.
His wages for the period he worked would have been around £60,000.
The RSPCA is reported to have offered a six-figure pay off to Michael Ward, who took over as interim chief executive following Cooper’s departure. Ward left earlier this year, also with immediate effect.
Since Cooper’s departure the RSPCA has been without a permanent chief executive for almost a year. In August Chris Sherwood will take over as the new chief executive. He will be the charity’s eighth leader in 11 years.
Former RSPCA employees, and those involved in the charity’s recruitment processes, have said that the charity’s frequent changes in leadership were down to conflict between the executive and the trustee board. Cooper had attempted to introduce a change programme but had struggled to implement it.
In 2016, the charity’s frequent changes in leadership prompted the Charity Commission to step in to request a governance review. The regulator later said that the conduct of the charity’s trustee board was not up to “the standard that the public would expect”.
Last year the Charity Commission approached the RSPCA for “urgent assurances” over the reports of large pay offs to senior staff members, but has not said whether those assurances have been received.
The RSPCA was contacted for comment on the payment in its accounts but said it did not comment on the salaries of individual members of staff.