By Neil Trainis
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said figures in its 2019 accounts showing one member from its executive and directors team was paid £170,000-£180,000 during the year, a significantly larger sum than was paid to any individual during the previous 12 months, relates to total remuneration for redundancy following a restructure of the organisation.
The figure appears in the professional leadership body’s financial statements to the year ending December 31, 2019 and compares with £140,000-£150,000 which was the highest sum paid to one individual as detailed in its accounts to the year ending December 31, 2018.
That was an increase of £20,000 to £40,000 on the largest payment made to one person over a period of 12 months.
The combined remuneration of the chief executive and directors rose from £1.568 million in 2018 to £1.637 million in 2019 even though the number of senior officials fell from 17 two years ago to 13 last year.
Those increases in remuneration at the RPS has coincided with a period of austerity in community pharmacy, with many pharmacies having to contend with reduced margins and the continuing fall-out from swingeing government funding cuts. The coronavirus pandemic has also brought some pharmacies to their knees in the last few months.
Despite incurring losses - a financial statement for 2019 revealed the RPS had posted an operating deficit for the second year in a row - its remuneration costs went up.
According to that statement, its deficit before interest and tax was £1.372 million on a turnover of £23.6 million for the year ending December 2019, worse than was budgeted for.
Total revenues rose by £73,000 in 2019 to £23.448 million although membership revenue declined to £4.478 million.
The RPS told Independent Community Pharmacist the figures of £140,000-£150,000 in 2018 and £170,000-£180,000 in 2019 do not relate to the remuneration of its chief executive Paul Bennett but reflects redundancy payments.
One director who is believed to have recently left the RPS is Simon Redman who was the director of finance.
“The figures reflect total remuneration for redundancy following a restructure of the RPS. The restructure also involved a freeze of allowances for the RPS Assembly and national boards and a reduction in the number of meetings in 2020 to minimise travel costs,” the RPS said.
“The RPS Executive also agreed a freeze on their own pay whilst agreeing a prudent increase for staff. Tight controls on all other expenditure ensures RPS continues to deliver for its members through an appropriate budget.”
The RPS did not provide any more information on redundancy remuneration and did not say if these payments would be split between its 2019 and 2020 financial statements.
An RPS spokesperson said: “We respect the confidentiality of those made redundant in the restructure.”