The RSPCA’s trustees have been issued with a formal rebuke from a charity regulator over a six-figure payout made to its former interim chief executive. Its key trustees failed to seek adequate information before agreeing to a large financial settlement with Michael Ward who quit in May, the UK’s Charity Commission said.
The regulator stepped in after it was reported that Mr Ward, 57, claimed he was a victim of age discrimination when a younger candidate was appointed to the role permanently. He challenged the recruitment process before accepting a settlement far bigger than his salary of £150,000.
The Charity Commission said it was not the size of the payment but the manner in which it was made that prompted the warning to the RSPCA’s chairman, vice-chairman, treasurer and deputy treasurer.
It concluded that their failure to ensure that they were sufficiently informed or to act with reasonable care and skill in negotiating with Mr. Ward amounted to mismanagement in the administration of the UK charity.
They must now undergo training in their duties as trustees as well as implement recommendations of a separate review into the RSPCA’s governance.
Chris Sherwood, 37, has taken over as chief executive after running Relate, the relationships support service.
The RSPCA refused to disclose the sum paid to Mr Ward.