The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has ended consultations on a restructure and said it will be making 269 redundancies,.
The charity, which employs more than 1,600 people, was proposing up to 300 redundancies but after discussions with staff and the Unite trade union, the number has reduced by 10%.
Unite had accused RSPCA of using Covid-19 as an excuse to make workers redundant, a claim the charity refuted.
Data for the financial year ending 31 December 2018 puts the charity's income at £142m and spending at £159.8m.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “We know this has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone and I’m grateful for all those who took part in the consultation process, staff, volunteers and the union.
“We have seriously considered every single proposal submitted and will be exploring some of the cost savings measures suggested by staff.
“As a result of discussions we will be keeping 31 roles which were at risk of redundancy, a majority of which are field staff.”
RSPCA had been reviewing all its activities as part of its 10-year strategy development, but states that the need for long-term structural change had become more acute following the impact of the Covid pandemic.
Although the charity had reduced its deficit from £20m to £12m ahead of the pandemic, it is now forecasting a deficit of £20-25m this year, rising to a potential £47m “black hole” over the next three years if action is not taken.
'This is no reflection on the staff and volunteers'
Sherwood added: “It is with a heavy heart that despite in-depth discussions, including with other organisations, we will be closing services at Putney Animal Hospital and Southall Clinic in London and two Surrey rehoming centres, RSPCA Lockwood and South Godstone. We will also stop delivering the Southall Cattery service; however, we are in active discussions with another charity over the possibility of transferring the service to keep it operating.
“This is no reflection on the staff and volunteers and I would like to thank them for their dedication and commitment to the RSPCA and animals.
“This restructure was crucial to put the RSPCA on a strong financial footing, so we are sustainable to cope with the future demands and continue our important work to rescue those animals most in need.
“We will work hard to support our staff through the difficult weeks and months ahead.”
The charity says that following the challenges of the pandemic, its free reserves have dipped to a level which amounts to less than six months’ operating funds.
Its most recent accounts state a level of free reserves of between £75m and £100m is deemed appropriate. On 31 December 2018 its free reserves stood at £89.6m.