MS Society board faces no-confidence motion

Crunch vote prompted by plans to stop offering respite care for sufferers

The board of trustees at the MS Society is facing a vote of no confidence at its annual general meeting next month.

Members of the society have already tabled a motion calling for a suspension of the board’s decision to pull out of providing respite care at centres in York, Surrey, East Lothian and Leamington Spa, putting 380 jobs at risk.

The no-confidence motion states that the board "has betrayed members’ trust" by redirecting major respite care spending without members’ approval.

The meeting, being held on 25 September, will also include a motion in support of the board’s decision to withdraw from the centres, which says it will "benefit more people with MS and carers throughout the UK, and provide fairer access to the society’s services".

Susan Tilley, a former trustee of the charity, who seconded the no-confidence motion, said: "Big decisions like this are usually run by the membership with everything out in the open. This didn’t seem to be the case with the respite centres decision."

In its response to the motion, the board said that people with multiple sclerosis and their carers "have been part of every aspect" of an 18-month respite review, which ended with the decision to redirect spending away from the centres.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the MS Society, said: "We know people are upset about the decision for the MS Society to no longer directly provide residential respite care, but in order for us to give people across the UK options and choice, we cannot provide residential care too.

"Over the next few months, we welcome MS Society members and people with MS to work with us in ensuring their needs are met by our new strategy."

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