Big Ugly Animals at RSPCA

Hot on the trail of the ugly side of the RSPCA the charity commission followed up earlier fines with an ‘official warning’ with the implicit threat of taking over The RSPCA unless there are significant improvements.

This action arises after trustees sanctioned a £150,000 golden handshake for the acting head / chief executive Michael Ward. The payment seems to have been negotiated under the threat of a claim of ‘unfair treatment’ in the process of filling the role permanently. (on that basis would you want this person as a chief executive anyway?) The commission found that ‘the trustees failed to make adequate enquiries and ensure the decision was made properly ‘particularly given the large sums involved’.

Big Ugly Animals

Many large charities seem to believe they are ‘kings of the jungle’ and trample on the feelings of members, supporters and the public.

Corporate reputation or managerial incompetence is too often defended or ignored for insubstantial reasons and vanity.

Accountability and responsibility and obfuscated by actions that do no credit to the organisation.

RSPCA is just one victim of this malaise in the charity industry but they seem to keep on causing consternation. They claim to be well advanced with reforms following a governance review but can a leopard change his spots.


Big business may take similar actions by making gross payments for failure and/or success of executives. That doesn’t make it right for a charity using donors money.

Politicians are sometimes said to be economical with the truth, extravagant with expense declarations and ‘expert’ at the bad cover up. That doesn’t make it right for a charity and damages public confidence.

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