|John Sweeney with Bertie|
On the BBC show Panorama, a former RSPCA senior manager in Wales has said the RSPCA is “not fit for purpose” and is run with naked conflicts of interest.
The episode, titled Trouble at the RSPCA, features host John Sweeney highlighting the chaotic and revolving management of the RSPCA.
Former national director of RSPCA Wales, Steve Carter, said that RSPCA trustee David Canavan, who was acting chief executive at the time he worked there, diverted resources from the RSPCA’s main Manchester Animal Hospital to the Rochdale branch, where Canavan was himself a trustee.
These kinds of things are not one-offs. As noted on this blog, the national RSPCA spends most of its money on direct mail, while doing almost nothing to rehome dogs and cats.
The chairwoman of the organization recently bought a large house two doors down from her own to house her daughter, and then paid her daughter a salary claiming the expense was for a "cattery," though it housed just 12 cats.
Andrew Hind, former chief executive of the Charity Commission, told BBC's Panorama Show that having David Canavan act as chief executive for two years was “off the scale – in terms of being so unusual”. “I find it difficult to see how a large charity could properly run itself if it doesn’t have a permanent chief executive who is independent from the non-executive trustee team.”
The Charity Commission provided a statement to Panorama reiterating that it is working with the RSPCA to improve its governance, which it considers to be “below the standard we expect in a modern charity”. It also said the charity needs to change its culture.
Sadly, at this time, the charity’s governance is below the standard we expect in a modern charity. This was brought into focus by the recent departure of the CEO, and is highlighted in the recommendations of an independent governance review, which the Commission ensured the charity carried out. We have made clear to the charity’s trustees that they must act quickly to put the charity’s recent difficulties behind them and put the RSPCA onto a secure governance footing. The trustees have submitted an action plan, based on that governance review, which we are considering.
The changes needed at the RSPCA involve practical steps, but they also require a commitment to culture change. This must come from the very top. We are monitoring the trustees’ role in leading that change, and in implementing the action plan, to ensure they maintain the necessary grip and pace. We will consider further regulatory action should we not see the required improvements made quickly enough.
** The RSPCA: A Failure of Mission and Veracity
** The RSPCA: Massive Dollars for Minimal Impact
** The Fundraising Scam that is the RSPCA
** RSPCA: Rolling in Money While Killing Healthy Dogs
** The RSPCA Is Corrupt and a Scam
** The RSPCA's Home for a (Very Short) Life Campaign
** Let's Kill All the Dogs So They Won't Eat Meat
** An Existential Crisis at the RSPCA
** The Lost and Leaderless RSPCA