RSPCA makes rule changes after governance review

The animal charity passed several motions at its AGM that incorporated all of the review's recommendations

RSPCA headquarters
RSPCA headquarters

The RSPCA has accepted rule changes proposed by an independent review of the charity’s governance.

The review, which was carried out by Pesh Framjee, head of non-profits at the audit firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, led to a report published earlier this month that recommended a series of rule changes, as well as other proposals such as enforcing its code of conduct more rigorously during board meetings.

The review was initiated last year at the behest of the Charity Commission after negative press stories appeared about the RSPCA.

At the charity’s annual general meeting, which was held on Saturday, the RSPCA passed several motions to change trusteeship rules at the charity and which incorporated all of the review’s recommendations.

One motion will allow the charity to co-opt people who are not members of the charity’s board – known as its council  – "provided that a majority of the members of any committee shall consist of members of the council".

Another motion said that three co-opted members "possessing special qualifications or experience" should be allowed to join the board. The motion said the term in office for each co-opted member would be a year, but each could be reappointed for another year at the charity’s AGM.

The governance review said up to three co-opted members should be allowed to join the charity’s board, a recommendation that was supported at the charity’s AGM.

A motion to alter the potential size of the board from 25 members to a maximum of 25 elected members was also passed. In practice, this will allow for the addition of co-opted members to the charity’s board.

An amendment was also made to the rules on how long candidates for election to the charity’s board have to be members of the charity.

Currently, the candidates must have been members for five years, but the rule changes allow for co-opted members to stand as long as their nominations are supported by the council and they become RSPCA members.

Another rule change will provide honorary officers of the council with two-year terms, rather than the one-year terms currently allowed.

Daphne Harris, chair of the RSPCA, said at the AGM: "The council fully supports the rule changes the review recommends.

"We will be working hard to make sure our governance is as good as it can be. We have been given an instruction to get on with it and that is what we will do."

Harris also set out plans for an increase in the number of front-line staff and the opening of new animal centres, though a spokeswoman for the charity said there were no details on the proposals at this time.

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