RSPCA is planning to half the size of its board, introduce term limits and set up a new committee to improve the relationship between the central organisation and its branches, as part of major changes to its governance.
A wide-ranging review in 2017 made over 40 recommendations to improve RSPCA’s governance.
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.
Chris Sherwood, current chief executive of RSPCA, said the proposed changes go further than those in the 2017 review and bring the RSPCA up to the same level as most other large charities.
“The organisation is going through the biggest changes to its governance since 1974,” he said.
Members will vote on the proposals at this year’s annual general meeting in June.
“This is the start of a really big conversation with our members,” Sherwood said.
Changes to the council
RSPCA is planning to reduce the size of board, known as its council, from 25 members to 12.
Nine trustees will be elected from the membership and three will be co-opted to ensure that charity has the right mix of skills.
Trustees would also be limited to three terms of three years before having a three-year break.
“We need that refreshment. We need to bring new skills,” Sherwood says.
Relationship with branches
RSPCA intends to create a new committee to support the relationship between the national body and its branches.
“We're proposing to introduce a new powerful committee called our Branch Affairs Committee which would really support that relationship between the national RSPCA and our nearly 160 branches,” Sherwood says.
This would “ensure that they're represented” he explains.
“Without our branches the organisation wouldn't be able to do all the amazing work that it does. They're a cherished integral part of the organisation.”