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New structure proposed for the SPCA

Monday, 9 May, 2011

One of New Zealand’s best-loved and longest-established charities is to investigate restructuring, so as to better meet the needs of the twenty-first century.

At its Annual General Meeting in Wellington, SPCA New Zealand yesterday called for a review of its structure, with a view to deciding on constitutional reforms, including the establishment of a proposed new regional layer of governance.

"The type of restructuring we're looking at, could turn out to be one of the most significant we've gone through as a national organisation, since local SPCAs from throughout New Zealand first came together in a legally incorporated Federation in 1933," says the Society's newly re-elected National President, Bob Kerridge.

"The purpose of such changes would be to help our staff and volunteers do the best possible job and ensure animals receive the best possible treatment. We are truly blessed by the dedication, compassion, unflagging efforts and deep love of animals of so many people at our grass roots. They deserve an organisational structure that fully meets their needs.

"An important change of nomenclature would be to start referring to our local branches and member societies as Centres, in recognition of the central and significant role they play both in their respective communities and in the life of the SPCA as a whole.

"A clear and comprehensive set of required standards has also been proposed for the review, with a view to helping Centres do their job. Meeting these standards would, in effect, provide Centres with a 'franchise' to operate under the SPCA's name and logo, offering the public an assurance of good practice in all we do," Mr Kerridge says.

"Another significant proposal is to ensure that SPCA Centres receive a 'helping hand from their neighbours'. Many of them, particularly those situated away from major settlements, can feel a profound sense of isolation as they go about their daily tasks. It's been suggested that this isolation could best be broken down by grouping our 48 Centres into Regions.

"It is felt that this regional framework would allow SPCA Centres to share problems, seek solutions and give and receive guidance in key areas of activity, including, for example, finance, marketing, education and the running of our inspectorate.

"A regional structure could also play a key part in jointly undertaking national initiatives, on matters such as education or de-sexing. However, it's important that regionalisation does not detract in any way from the independence of Centres or from the deep roots they've established in local communities, where some of them have flourished since the late nineteenth century.

"A fully detailed document providing all the options available for consideration is to be circulated to all SPCA Centres for discussion and development, and, inevitably, the Society's current 40-year-old constitution will need to be redrafted to cater to the structural changes agreed to, following the review," he adds.