Unite, which represents workers throughout the charity sector, has welcomed a commitment by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (RSPCA) new chief executive Chris Sherwood to tackle his organisation’s culture of bullying and harassment, which was revealed in a major survey undertaken by Unite.

Mr Sherwood told Third Sector magazine: “There is absolutely no place for bullying of any nature within the RSPCA.” He also confirmed that the RSPCA is committed to establishing a wellbeing action group “which will work with Unite to review all relevant policies and explore fresh ways to ensure that anyone can raise a concern and access support.”

The confidential survey undertaken by Unite was responded to by 622 RSPCA staff. The survey found that almost one in three staff (29.3 per cent) had experienced some degree of bullying in the previous 12 months. In total 37 per cent of staff had witnessed someone being bullied in the past year.

A total of 46 per cent of respondents believed that bullying was a serious or very serious problem within the organisation. The most likely source of bullying was from senior managers (38 per cent).

Despite the strong support for action from Mr Sherwood, members do not feel that there has been any actual change in the culture since the survey results were published.

Unite national officer for the charity and voluntary sector Siobhan Endean said: “Unite welcomes Chris Sherwood’s commitment to tackle the culture of bullying and harassment which is deeply ingrained in the RSPCA’s culture.

“It is essential that the commitment to work with Unite to develop a long-term dignity at work strategy is fully undertaken as this is essential to tackle the problems exposed by the workforce.

“Unite’s reps at the RSPCA should be congratulated on their hard work at putting together the comprehensive survey, which is now acting as a catalyst to drive forward much needed organisational change.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.