As you’d expect from the top job in a charity of this scale, this is a complex and challenging role. But then few things worth doing are easy, and we believe the prize of delivering world-class animal welfare services merits the greatest efforts. To achieve this goal, we need to ensure that the enormous capacity, resources and support available to us are mobilised effectively and consistently across the spectrum of our activities.
Governance and decision-making: Our strategic objectives can in part be enabled by becoming better at prioritising, and we have already begun developing more modern governance and decision-making structures – which nevertheless retain and celebrate the values of our founders and supporters. And a new and more searching internal audit function is helping us identify and address ‘pinch-points’ where our systems and processes are hampering our effectiveness or creating undesirable risks, and we are committed to implementing its recommendations.
Employee engagement and working with people: our structure means that working with and through people is absolutely fundamental. Communicating a clear, simple vision and its attendant objectives, and listening to suggestions about how they can be achieved, will enable our new Chief Executive to marshal the commitment and effort of all those working for the Society, whether employees or volunteers.
Performance and appraisal: From branches to the senior management team, the motivation and commitment of the people who work for the Society is remarkable and humbling. But it’s important that we understand exactly how to channel that admirable effort most effectively, and a more sophisticated performance framework will provide the data and detail that can underpin a step-change in delivery.
Change projects: major investment in systems improvement projects is already underway, designed to refine information management and operations, respond to future challenges (known and unknown), and make us fit for the future. We will expect our new Chief Executive to sustain the momentum of these projects, acting as senior accountable sponsor and ensuring that they deliver (and where possible, over-deliver) on their objectives, while keeping to timescales and budgets.
Campaigning and advocacy: many people’s first and most regular contact with us is through our campaigns, and we're determined to continue our excellent track record of influencing the debate around animal welfare in the UK. Our communication and external affairs function is of the highest calibre, and we will look to you to ensure that we develop and deliver simple, persuasive campaigns to key audiences at every level.
Income and commercial activity: The RSPCA is the 14th highest income-generating charity in the UK, and the 3rd most recognised charity brand. Income/fundraising has been very consistent over the last few years when many charities have struggled. Recent years have seen us complete an important financial turnaround, making difficult decisions which ensure that we are commercially fit for the future. Trading and investment performance are both healthy, but we are as exposed as any charity to the prevailing economic conditions, and we need a robust strategy to mitigate the macro-economic challenges which are already emerging.
Working with the branch network: across the country, small and passionate groups of volunteers maintain the profile and activity of the Society where it would be impossible for the national organisation to reach. But we recognise that the way we work together can be improved, and we will expect you to build strong relationships of trust and mutual purpose with branch members.