ONE of the world’s biggest animal charities has come under fire from senior officials who used to work for the organisation.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the UK is not fit for purpose, according to one former director.
Other insiders have also spoken out about the charity’s governance issues and in July of this year a parliamentary committee found that the RSCPA is “targeting vulnerable, ill and elderly” pet owners.
According to insider testaments, the RSCPA is governed by a council of meddling trustees who are incapable of delegation.
The role of the trustees is currently being monitored by the Charity Commission, which has deemed the organisation’s governance “below the standard it expects in a modern charity”.
Steve Carter, who resigned as director of RSPCA Wales in 2015, criticised the charity for being governed by a council that is stuck firmly in the past.
He said: “The RSPCA currently is not fit for purpose,” Mr Carter told Panorama. “I think it stems from the background of council. I don’t think the governance process and structure has moved on much since the 1970s.”
It is not the first time that figures once associated with the organisation have voiced criticisms.
Jeremy Cooper, the RSPCA’s chief executive, left the charity in June after just a year in the role.
From 2014 to 2016, the charity had been without a chief executive.
Instead, two senior trustees took on the role while balancing their other duties.
Andrew Hind, the former chief executive of the commission, said it was extraordinary for any charity to allow someone to do both jobs simultaneously for such a long time.
He said: “For a large charity, that is 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 trustee team.”
The RSCPA has itself acknowledged that some improvement to its governance was required.
“We aren’t complacent about these issues, and we are committed to continually improving everything we do as an organisation,” a spokesman for the charity said.
But the former director’s criticism is the latest in a series of embarrassing blows for the charity.
Later in the same month, the charity received considerable backlash for bidding to be granted police powers.
The committee report advised that the RSPCA should be stripped of its powers to prosecute cases of animal cruelty.