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‘We need a better, broader relationship with government,’ says RSPCA CEO

20 Oct 2021 News

Charities need a better relationship with the government so that when the next crisis comes along the sector is seen as something worth supporting, the RSPCA’s chief executive said yesterday. 

Chris Sherwood was speaking at the Westminster Social Policy Forum where he described the additional support charities got from the government during the pandemic as “paltry”. 

“Government didn’t step in in the way that they could have done,” he said.  

Sherwood is the latest senior sector figure to raise concerns about the relationship between charities and the government. 

He called for a “broader, better relationship with government so that next time [there’s a crisis] we’re seen as a sector that should be invested in” and not “one that can row back and retrench”. 

He described three “systemic shocks” in the form of the credit crunch, Brexit and now the pandemic, and said the sector should already be thinking about what the next crisis might be. 

Pragmatic approach 

Sherwood said that the RSPCA was taking a “much more constructive approach to government” in a bid to be more “pragmatic”. 

This means that while it still publicly disagrees with the government it is “picking battles” and praising government where it deserves credit. 

He added that there were examples of good relationships with government during the pandemic, such as RSPCA’s inspectors being included as key workers. 

“As a sector it was different kind of conversation,” he said. “The key thing making that case why this sector is vital.”

Last week Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the British Asian Trust, described the efforts of infrastructure as “dreadful”

Sherwood said that in his opinion: “NCVO and ACEVO did the best that they could.” He added that whoever becomes the next permanent CEO at NCVO will “need our support”.  

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