Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Appeal to SPCA

I attended SPCA general meeting last night. I raised some questions and could sense that the Chairperson and Committee were on the defensive side. They were polite and answered the issues raised. However I think SPCA has lapse into a complacency mode, which tends to happen to an established organisation.

Thus, I decided to write an appeal and proposal paper to them and hope they will act on it. The paper is given below :

Appeal And Proposal Paper

1) Set annual goal to reduce the number of animal put down

It is admirable that SPCA has the policy of accepting all animals that come her way. It would be more in line with the organisation name of '..Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' if SPCA sets annual goal to actively work towards the reduction of animals being put down. Euthanasia of healthy animals is still a form of cruelty. Though the public understand the reason for it is due to the organisation constrain, however it does not mean the public accepts it.

The large number of animals handed over / pick up by SPCA constitute the back end of the problem, which SPCA does her best to resolve. But if SPCA does not focus more on the sources of these issues, there is no end in sight as the rate of abandonment out pace the rate of adoption.

Therefore it is suggested that SPCA should give urgency to focus on the sources of the problem which are :

- unfriendly HDB polices towards cats and non pedigree dogs adoption. The animals are disadvantage by these policies and SPCA hands are also tied due to them
- penalty for abuse is too light and law enforcement is weak
- folks treating pets as toys
- urban children lacking contact with animals, may result in unfounded fear which leads to a lack of empathy for them.

With annual goal setting, it would drive SPCA towards planning its education / promotion activities and lobbying for support to achieve the goal of reducing the number of animals put down. It would guide the organisation to rethink its policies.

2) Funds and Expenses – more transparency

a) 2010 Financial Statement
Anyone paying attention to the SPCA 2010 Financial Statement would be alarmed that expenses went up by $166K, while fund raising activities only generated $28K. Then $13.8K was written off, which effectively wipes out 50% of your fund raising effort.

Even private organisation target at cost reduction through reducing operation expenses. Is SPCA doing similar ?

b) Remuneration and HR
SPCA staff should be rewarded for their dedication. If their salary is 10 to 20% above other charity organisations, it is perfectly acceptable. However, if the salary scale of private business organisations is used as reference, this is not acceptable. Business generates profit, while charity organisation is funded by donation.

SPCA has a HR officer, so is there HR policies regarding remuneration, job scope and responsibility ? How does SPCA justify and approve headcount ? For example, the premise and staff strength is not large, is there a need for an office attendant ?

c) Volunteer Pool
SPCA being an established organisation, has a strong volunteer pool. She is popular target for schools community development activities. SPCA could review how she could tap more effectively into the volunteer pool to compliment her work load. This could help reduce operating expenses.

d) Project & Vendor
It is disturbing to learn that SPCA is being cheated by vendor and no legal action is taken. It is not clear why SPCA accepted the vendor proposal in the first place and what action is taken against the vendor. Did SPCA report the matter to the police ? If not, what is there to prevent similar scam from happening again ? Has SPCA tighten or have in place policies for project / vendor review and approval ?

e) Investment
SPCA should aim to be self sustaining with better returns on investment. By doing so, she will have more time to focus on important issues like education and promotion of animal welfare and less time is needed for fund raising activities.

This calls into question how well managed is SPCA $7M which gives a meagre return of $117K, which is able to cover only 5 % of your total expenses of $2M.

Should not SPCA gives more attention how the Ravenscroft Trust fund is managed since she is charged $24K in management fee ?

A breakdown list on what percentage goes into Bond, Shares ..etc together with the detail list of the names of the Bonds, Shares invested in will offer more transparency to how well the Trust fund is managed.

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