Monday, 7 January 2013


 Britain’s biggest animal welfare charity is one of the country's most complained about charities, figures from charities regulator suggest.
The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, disclosed that it has received 12 complaints about the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals over the past two years.
The RSPCA has been criticised by a judge and reported to the Commission by MPs and peers for controversially funding a successful £326,000 prosecution against Prime Minister David Cameron’s local hunt last month.
In a Freedom of Information response, the Commission said it recorded 12 complaints against the RSPCA, behind only the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the HFSH Charitable Trust, a spiritual healers charity, with 13 “cases” each, in the two years until March 31 2012.
Referring specifically to the RSPCA, the Commission said it had “received complaints from different members of the public, primarily about the service provided by the charity, the charity’s activities or general decisions taken by the trustees in the course of their day to day management of the charity”.
It added: “In all instances the Commission felt that the complaints were best addressed by explaining its role and providing general advice and guidance to the complainants on the charity’s position. "In certain cases the complainants were advised to contact the trustees directly.”
Simon Hart MP, a former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance who obtained the figures under the FOI Act, said: “No animal based charity should the subject of so many complaints.
“It suggests a loss of direction and leadership, and a focus on political ideology at the expense of animal welfare.”
The figures were issued by the Charity Commission to Mr Hart last July, several months before a judge criticised the charity for the “staggering” cost of the prosecution against members of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire.
The MPs and peers have reported the RSPCA’s 18 trustees to the Charity Commission last month for breaching a “duty of prudence” which governs the actions of all charity trustees under charity legislation.
The group – which includes Tory grandee Lord Heseltine – also told the watchdog that they had “concerns about the motivation for bringing this prosecution”.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA is unique among charities in England and Wales. No other charity can claim to campaign for legislative change, and then to uphold the very laws that it fought for with such dedication.
“Throughout our history, the RSPCA has never and will never shy away from making decisions that we believe further the cause of prevention of cruelty to animals – no matter how unpopular they may prove with some people.
“It goes without saying that many of the decisions we make will upset those who believe they can break the law and get away with it.
“We make no apology for that. Our ‘raison d'etre’ is to be the voice and protector of animals that cannot protect themselves.”
A spokesman for the Commission said: “We do not keep league tables in relation to complaints which we receive about charities. Large national charities which are membership organisations like the RSPCA invariably have a high public profile and do attract public attention.
“Many concerns which may be raised with the Commission about the way the charity conducts its affairs are not matters for the Commission as charity regulator as they are matters for the charity itself.
“Trustees are permitted to exercise their duties and responsibilities in the best interests of the charity as they think fit. The Commission would only be concerned as regulator where a charity was in clear breach of its duties and responsibilities as a charity.
“This would not include interfering with decisions made by the charity where these have been properly made.
“Ultimately trustees are responsible for running the charity and for dealing with any reputational issues which might arise.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Elaine Everest
on behalf of PDDG (Pedigree Dogs Defence Group)