Opinion Former Article

RSPCA invests in the future as new chief executive is appointed

The RSPCA is announcing a series of major investments as it appoints Mark Watts as its new chief executive.

A multi-million pound programme of modernisation is underway at the charity, including new handheld mobile technology for RSPCA inspectors, a new online rehoming service for the public and other investments in animal welfare.

Mark (63) has worked at the RSPCA for more than 28 years, most recently as the charity's director of corporate services, overseeing the RSPCA's financial and technology planning.

Within the next 18 months, the RSPCA will:
. issue all its 323 inspectors with hi-tech handsets allowing them to input and access animal welfare data while on the move
. launch a new upgraded RSPCA website
. invest in a new team of pet animal scientists
. make increasing use of new forensic techniques to tackle animal cruelty
. unveil a new online rehoming service - using the Internet to link homeless pets to prospective owners

Mark said: "The RSPCA has already modernised in a number of key areas, but I'm looking forward to making further changes so that the RSPCA can bring about even more improvements to the lives of millions of animals.

"The RSPCA is here to help animals and their owners - and we get a call for help every 25 seconds, even though we rely entirely on public donations.

"We already work closer than ever with the emergency services - when the flood waters rose last year we were there around-the-clock rescuing people and pets, as well as providing much-needed help to farmers for their animals."

The Society, which has a network of 174 branches across England and Wales, has recently seen a string of successes including the Animal Welfare Act, a ban on the import of wild birds into the EU, and a recent campaign to persuade shoppers to choose higher welfare chicken.

Mark added: "I'm relishing the challenge of leading such a well-respected and established charity as the RSPCA. Every year we find loving new homes for more animals than anyone else, and we couldn't do it without the help of our branches which do so much to help animals in need."

RSPCA Council chairman Mike Tomlinson said: "The RSPCA is the world's biggest and best animal welfare organisation. We have an immense amount to be proud of, but we should always be looking to the future.

"The Society is modernising much of what it does through a series of major investments, and Mark has the skills and experience to guide the Society as it goes through a continued period of change."

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RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099 Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 0870 0555500 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk

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