The royal british legion modernisation and how it affects clients

BBC iPlayer - The Report: The Royal British Legion
I did not believe until listening for myself
Have a listen to 'the report' which lets you know just what your poppy dues are spent on!
In addition sadly our Poppy Appeal donations are largely being spent on new offices and staff wages.
New clients whose family income exceeds £300 will not be eligible for help in some areas their expenditure is
Expenditure is being ignored.
I would be interested to hear your views
Par for the course with most major charities, central office has to have a good feed from the trough first.
At Branch and District/County level there should be no wages to pay at all, as it is all volunteer based. Wages for those working at the Poppy Factory and other establishments should be seen as a charitable effort anyway.

For any large charity to do anything productive there has to be some organisation at the top and that is always a drain. Even H4H found that their initial ideal of all the money going to those who need it was unattainable. Offices aren't free, nor are the people who work in them.

Lets not forget that the RBL has done, and is still doing, great work all over the country and abroad for anyone who has done 7 days service and their families.

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All of these recent developments suggest their claim "donations have fallen and we are tightening our belt" wasn't entirely true, was it. Their new tag line should be "New suits, corporate business mentality in capitalist commerce". And as the programme on BBC iPlayer says "spending has dropped by six million pounds, and there are fewer grants being made". Wonderfully, the interviewer ties the RBL DG in knots, and reveals more than a little disingenuity. And if we're to rely on and trust people like that, lord help us. The RBL is a mess.

Frankly; they have a great reputation and have done a great deal of good in the past, but I find it difficult to support the RBL and its policies nowadays, particularly in the homeless sector. The Royal British Legion is becoming a penny pinching corporate stranger to the British Forces and has lost its way. The interviewer in this iPlayer programme has the blustering RBL DG on the ropes. More please.
sickening, i just wish that everyone would put one penny in for there poppy for one year, that way they would see there not in touch with the real world,
There are surely paid officials at County Offices.
The Radio 4 programme highlighted the resignation of several volunteer County Chairmen (Lt Col & Group Captain) this must surely make an impact at Director level at HQ.
I appreciate the RBL need an office in London, but does it really need a 5 storey manned office block in Waterloo?
it is true, the TRBL do or did do a marvellous job, my main concern is the effect it is having on clients who have hitherto been well served, but now will not be, however as Joe once said 'if ain't broke don't need to fix it' and in this economic climate, I think Joe is right and perhaps their plans should be shelved until the full extent of future needs are established - which will no doubt be much clearer once our forces have left Afghanistan.
The RBL really needs to sort itself out if it is to survive. It is increasingly looking like a trough that Ex generals can go to dip their snouts. If I were in charge the first thing I would do is prioritise spending on needy ex service men and women, rather than empty symbolism that it tends to waste its money on.

What exactly is the purpose of the eave of remembrance parade? Lots of fat people ticktocking down some stairs, like a Nuremberg rally for special needs reenactors. The sole aim of this seems to be to allow politicians to bask in the reflected glory of the Armed Forces sacrifices.

Compare and contrast this to the actual remembrance parade, where the nation remembers its dead, with the Queen leading the laying of wreaths and the two minuet silence. The latter simple and sincere the former gaudy and tacky.

Over the years I have been to various commemorations, where masses of poppies have been detonated over the Lochonargar crater, or dropped out of the bomb bay of a Lancaster bomber. It’s all very nice and part of the pageantry we (as a nation) do so well, but I would rather the money were spent on helping those who need it.
we used to make 30.000 a year here in the port,,it does not even cover half a wage for one person at the top table,, when they closed our club i offerd my time and cash to the never forgotton and H4Hs ,, you see where the cash is going,


From November last year, but relevant; BBC News report linked to the Radio 4 broadcast: "Turmoil in the charity's ranks over restructure" . The RBL won't listen to objections or even reconsider its plans. Under this government and big business, it was inevitable. How remarkable that a charity which was formed to support British Forces and grew to what is today through public donations, has turned out similar to the High street Banks, worthy of equal suspicion.
The RBL won't listen to objections or even reconsider its plans. Under this government and big business, it was inevitable.
What have the government and business got to do with it?
From where I sit TRBL continue to do an excellent job. Restructuring was necessary - an organisation built around declining social clubs and ineefective branches was never going to survive into the long term. As for its wage structure do a comparison against its major competitor - the results may surprise you.
Might it be that all charities go the same way? Start with the best of intentions, do a good job, and become successful, then expand to beyond the capabilities of the original people, and attract corporate management types. The original charity becomes another national/multinational business.

Meanwhile the original needers of charity are ignored until a new group identifies a need and fills it, they do a good job, etc, etc. It seems to have happened with Oxfam, Sue Ryder, and the RSPCA. Interestingly enough there are more local charity shops for local hospices where I live; they look like second hand shops, rather than new build franchises, the staff are older too.

It was telling that the RBL is looking to recruit management more from outside the forces than in.
As for its wage structure do a comparison against its major competitor - the results may surprise you.
Who is their major competitor? Do charities compete against each other? If so how, for more clients, or to grab more of the cash in the first place?
All the service charities mean test clients prior to offering assistance. I spent almost 11 years as a volunteer caseworker for SSAFA Forces Help, I am ex RN so I know some of the problems veterans can have. All the army regimental benevolent funds as well as the RAF and RN require income / expenditure and savings amount before they will consider offering help. Non of these organisations will normally pay for white goods, as the RBL has a discount service with some major retail outlets. They will make grants but usually the Legion buys them through it's system. Many times I worked with the RBL welfare volunteers, always found them brilliant people to deal with. Yes I am sure there are many situations were money in wasted on posh offices and unnecessary salaries. Look at the RSPCA for example, the Legion will never be perfect, but it is a good system. I don't know if the changes suggested are good or bad, what I do know is that huge number of volunteers will continue to crack on and help all they can.


Simple answer, MSR. Granted, the RBL is an independent charity which also lobbies government, for instance in the Covenant.The move towards awarding less grants and being more "evidence-based" reflects policies across the voluntary sector in a belt-tightening climate. What's happening, is a drive to avert wastage, while reforming grants and benefits. Encourage more individuals to support themselves, less reliant on grants and benefits. While that is welcome and sensible, what that actually causes in some cases, is indiscriminate hardship. It's difficult to believe government doesn't affect charity policy,indirectly or otherwise. Government may not be directly involved, but policy does affect charities.

One would be naive to think that large charity enterprises aren't run on business models or that Banks have no influence.
But what has that got to do with the RBL not listening to objections or reconsidering plans?
But what has that got to do with the RBL not listening to objections or reconsidering plans?
I don't have a clue on this case, but sometimes once a project gets to a certain stage, it is more of a waste to change plans than it is to carry on with them. It has been the case with many building and procurement projects in the MoD.

It's easy to stand on the outside and criticise. Their offices in the centre of London far too expensive, but it would be wasting money to build somewhere else. Spending money on staff is not helping those who need help, but a charity that is not run properly is open to abuse and real waste. The directors are paid reasonable sums, but if there are any improprieties in the running of the charity, they are held liable.

I wouldn't say that charities are 'competitors' as such. The RBL and H4H have worked together in the past. They may have the same goals, but don't automatically assume that if the RBL disappeared, that everything they raise would go straight to H4H or visa versa. Also, the RBL have a physical footprint in many towns, despite the closure of some of the less efficient clubs, something that H4H does not have.

As has been said, no charity can ensure 100% of the money donated goes to the people in need, but the RBL have been doing great work for the last 90 years and are far from past it.

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