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RSPCA to close regional centres


STAFF AT ten regional centres of the RSPCA were told last Monday of plans to close the centres in an effort to save the charity £2million.

The planned cuts are said to be part of a cost cutting exercise to save the charity money and to tackle the cash crisis following stock market losses and controversial spending decisions.

Trustees were told last July of the need to save £2m and at a tough meeting last week the cuts were thrashed out. The society’s Freedom Food also came under scrutiny and one member of the ruling council, Angela Walder, resigned when it was decided to spend a further £1m on the scheme as well as planning to suspend the building of two new centres.

The centres are now victims of the cuts and the RSPCA is said to have spent ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ on seeking planning in vain.

An estimated 60 jobs will go and as well as the freezing of staff pay and the rebuilding of an animal hospital at Birmingham has also been placed on hold.
The two day council meeting held in Loughborough also failed to resolve the question of a successor to Peter Davies.

Wrangle

The search for a new Director General dissolved into acrimony last month when two members of the panel appointed to choose a successor to Peter Davies say they will resign if former Liberal Democrat MP Jackie Ballard,was given the job.

She was the favourite in a short list of four who will made presentations at the society's headquarters in Horsham, West Sussex. But sources at the charity say there was concern over Mrs Ballard's lack of financial experience.

The panel members who threatened to resign are understood to prefer Steve Marshall, the former chief executive of Railtrack.

There were fears that his involvement with the rail company could hold up the charity to ridicule. But his supporters point to his success before he joined Railtrack, which included time as chief executive of Thorn plc.

An RSPCA source said: "Ballard is vehemently anti-hunting, but there's much more to running the RSPCA than that.

Mrs Ballard was supported by Dr Richard Ryder, the charity's council chairman and one of the panel of six members of its ruling council interviewing her earlier this week. She is also understood to have the support of David Thomas, who chaired the panel. He will have the casting vote if it cannot agree.

But even this simple procedure has been shown to be flawed as Mr Thomas is a legal adviser to the BUAV whose chief executive is on the short list.

As a result of this the trustees heard three separate legal opinions on the principles of a conflict of interest and impartiality.