The RSPCA will close three of its animal centres and reduce senior and middle management by 20% as part of its ongoing restructure.
Following a review of its activities, the charity said today that it will close one of its two London animal hospitals, Putney Hospital, as well as a linked cattery and clinic in Southall.
In the South of England, it will close an equine centre in Godalming and an animal centre in South Godstone.
The charity said it is actively looking for other animal welfare organisations to take over the centres.
Last week it began a consultation that could lead to 300 redundancies, and has warned that without urgent action it faces a £47m black hole in its finances over the next three years.
Other planned changes, announced today, include reducing senior and middle management by 20% and restructuring its frontline rescue teams. The charity proposes to create a new role of animal rescuer to work with inspectors and reduce the number of teams.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “We announced a proposal for up to 300 redundancies last week as a result of the critical financial pressures we are facing, and that will unfortunately include some roles on the frontline.
“The last thing I want is to be making these announcements at what is already a difficult time for our hard-working employees, but we simply cannot continue to operate our services in this way as we have been spending more than our income.”
‘Rebalancing our services’
The closures affect centres where the RSPCA considers that it has other services nearby.
The plans may also mean RSPCA Wimbledon, Wandsworth and Sutton District Branch, which is a separate charity and uses premises at Putney, will have to find a new base.
Sherwood said: “We have an imbalance in our services – with more of our operations located in the south and two of our four animal hospitals just a few miles apart in London – and we plan to rebalance these services going forward. We are confident we can still rescue, rehabilitate and treat animals in these areas through our network of other sites and through closer partnership working with other organisations.”
He added that the restructure to RSPCA's animal rescue teams also aims to ensure that resources are distributed fairly.
He said: “Our unique rescue teams will continue to be central to our animal welfare work going forward – we are the only charity which does this vital work. The remodelling work we are undertaking will enable us to better distribute resources to where they are most needed whilst bringing our spending under control.
“We have already made changes to the way we run our inspectorate which will help us become more responsive, more effective and quicker at reaching the animals who need us most.”
‘Facing enormous challenges’
Sherwood said the aim of the changes was to make sure that the RSPCA survives.
“We know that this is upsetting news for staff and volunteers who have been dedicated to animal welfare, and those who have supported our centres and hospital,” he said.
“Like many other national charities, the RSPCA is facing enormous challenges and these changes will enable us to survive and refocus for the difficult months and years which are facing this country.
“We may look different, but our charity will continue to rescue and care for the animals who need us most, to educate and inspire compassion towards all animals.”