RSPCA trustees resign in protest at how the charity is run

29 Feb 2016 News

Two of the RSPCA’s trustees have resigned in the last six months, saying that they cannot support the board and the current leadership - where one trustee is acting as the chief executive while the recruitment process drags on.

The charity has been without a chief executive since February 2014, when Gavin Grant resigned for health reasons, shortly followed by his deputy chief executive.

In resignation letters seen by Civil Society News Christopher Laurence and Sally Phillips expressed concern about the current situation.

Laurence, who resigned last week, said: “I have regretfully come to the conclusion that I can no longer be perceived to support the current arrangements.”

He said he continues to support the charity and his branch and would return if there is a “significant external review of governance”.

Phillips, who resigned last autumn, said she believed the charity to be “ill-led by its trustees”.

She claimed that those running the selection process for the new chief executive changed the criteria and failed to “properly brief the professional firm” which resulted in candidates who “did not fit the society’s requirements with regard to animal welfare being put forward”.

She said that the current leadership arrangement where David Canavan, the charity’s vice-chair, is acting as its chief executive is “an appalling blurring of the governance and management” and claimed that staff were being treated “with a lack of professionalism” and that many had left as a result.

“The failings of Council to properly address its governance role and put in place an effective management regime is adversely affecting the purposes for which the Society exists – animal welfare,” she said.

“I find I can no longer be a party to this callous disregard for proper procedure, for staff morale and for the animals we are supposed to serve”.

She called for an organisation such as NCVO to carry out a review of its governance and said she was concerned about the current system of electing trustees from its membership, which meant that trustees were drawn from a “narrow pool”.

David Canavan, acting chief executive and vice-chair, said: "We can confirm two of our trustees have resigned since September. We would like to thank them for their service and contribution to the society during their time here."


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