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JANUARY 21, 2020

Unite secures ‘historic’ changes at RSPCA’s annual general meeting

After three years of active campaigning and continued pressure from Unite the union representatives and members, the governance of the world’s oldest animal charity, the Royal Society for the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has finally been overhauled and fully modernised.

The recent history of the RSPCA has seen a lack of financial stability, an inability to hold on to a chief executive for any length of time, numerous restructures and a culture of bullying and harassment take hold. 

According to Unite, overseeing all of this has been an ineffective and divisive board of up to 28 trustees, some of whom have at times appeared more interested in themselves than in the charity they were supposed to be leading. 


At the Society’s 190th annual general meeting that was held in London last weekend, three separate rule amendment resolutions were put forward, voted upon and successfully passed (by over 90 per cent) of the charity’s membership. The results reflected the biggest shift in the charity’s governance in almost 50 years.

Commenting Joe Murphy Unite RSPCA senior workplace representative said: “This is a big step forward for the charity and for the members who are so passionate about the animal welfare work they are committed to. For years, the organisation has been hindered by dated and clumsy governance structures that have allowed a small dominant number of individual trustees to oppose positive and progressive strategic change; to interfere directly in operational and managerial decisions to promote their own agendas; to allow dubious employment and accommodation arrangements for family and friends; to run up extortionate expenses year after year; and to be in complete denial of the culture of bullying and harassment that has fostered under their collective weak leadership.

“The changes that have been voted through at this year’s AGM have been the consequence of continued and sustained campaigning from Unite’s workplace representatives and its members within the RSPCA, often in the face of open hostility from some trustees.  Everything that the union has been asking for was agreed, meaning that the RSPCA will be in a much better place to face the enormous challenges that exist in the charitable sector and move towards a more secure future for staff.”

Full story here. 

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