Guide Dogs leader hits back at RNIB criticism

Richard Leaman denies accusation, made by Lesley-Anne Alexander of the RNIB, that his organisation is insular

Richard Leaman
Richard Leaman

The chief executive of Guide Dogs, Richard Leaman, has responded to the criticism of his organisation by Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the RNIB, by saying that it "doesn't reflect reality".

At a Charity Leaders' Exchange event hosted by the networking organisation Knowledge Peers, Alexander said earlier this week Guide Dogs was "insular" and had "put up reasons that simply aren't true" to reject the offer of a merger.

Richard Leaman, chief executive of Guide Dogs, said today that his charity had a "unique brand and a strong fundraising proposition", and he did not want to see those damaged.

He said he felt the sector would lose out if a central "command and control" structure was imposed from above, but he was in favour of closer work between charities. He said his charity had "willingly discussed collaboration with RNIB at the highest levels".

He said Guide Dogs was involved in many collaborative projects, including working with 70 local charities to help attract sighted volunteers to help blind people with mobility.

"We have also signed a memorandum of understanding with Action for Blind People and are actively developing a visual impairment consortium in the south west," he said. "To describe Guide Dogs as insular, simply doesn’t reflect reality."

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