RSPCA 'is one of Britain's most complained about charities'

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RSPCA 'is one of Britain's most complained about charities'

Post  Admin on Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:17 pm

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.”

The Commission said in its response that “the number of complaints received about a charity would not necessarily mean that that charity had acted wrongly or contrary to its charitable purpose”.

It added that the figures did not offer a “complete picture” of complaints because they did not include formal inquiries under the Charities Act, some telephone complaints to the Commission’s call centre and others dealt with by a specialist team.

However last night 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.”

Last week it emerged that the RSPCA’s national head office, which sanctioned the prosecution, would not intervene to save a local 126-year-old RSPCA charity in Preston which has only had two months of funding left.

If the branch is forced to close, there were fears that hundreds of abandoned pets could have to be rehoused.

The RSPCA said the spokesman said the Preston and District Branch was separate from the national organiisation and was funded by the national RSPCA.
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Only Twelve in Two Years?

Post  Trilby Bee on Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:57 pm

I am only shocked that the figure is not substantially more to be honest with you. Only twelve? There must be six on this forum alone in less than two years. Maybe it's time we all started to complain to the Charity Commission about their behaviour...but, like I think I mentioned, you do that and they say your first step is to complain to the Trustees...if then dissatisfied with the Trustees'  response (after a certain length of time), you progress to the Charity Commission. I wonder what their response will be? Something along the lines of: 'Having carefully studied your complaint and the correspondence between you and RSPCA....we really feel that there is no case for the RSPCA to answer....' There never is.
I had something similar with HSBC Bank (no reply to six letters, all which they denied receiving despite three being Recorded Delivery) so eventually, in desperation, I thought to use the Financial Ombudsman...took eight months and I get the impression the Financial Ombudsman is there to keep people in employment. Really I do. Sure, they were very pleasant, courteous, but were not prepared to stick their necks out and say HSBC are beyond awful and we will back you all the way. And eight months...that's how long they took to get me half of what I was entitled to.
Twelve complaints in two years? Is this true?
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Re: RSPCA 'is one of Britain's most complained about charities'

Post  Admin on Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:55 pm

I have to admit i thought the number would be higher.
I think next year will be a different story.
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Re: RSPCA 'is one of Britain's most complained about charities'

Post  Trilby Bee on Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:56 am

I agree, Admin, think next year will be much higher, given the bad press they have received recently. Twelve in two years...that's ONLY Evil or Very Mad one every two months, they have got to be kidding us. RSPCA must be buying their silence, eh?
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