Severn Wildlife Rescue

Non-hierarchical Organisational Structure

Why is Severn Wildlife Rescue non-hierarchical?

We want all our members to feel valued and empowered in their roles with us.

Whether you are a new volunteer performing ‘wildlife ambulance’ duties, or a wildlife carer or co-founder with years of experience, we strongly believe every one of us should have a voice and a place to make a real difference as we come together to help our wildlife species.

Many of our volunteers have different specialist skills, e.g., working with one wildlife species more than others or dealing more with the public etc, so rather than organising ourselves in a hierarchy we feel it is best to empower all our volunteers to contribute according to the needs of the situation and their abilities.

We hope this will build comradery within the team and contribute to individuals’ confidence in, and wellbeing from, the contribution they make to SWR’s work.

What does non-hierarchical structure mean in practice?

Everyone is deserving of the utmost respect and has a voice when decisions about the organisation need to be made.

Of course, it is inevitable in any organisation that someone takes the reins in terms of day-to-day operations of the rescue. However, this does not mean that person, or people, is always ‘in charge’ and entitled to overrule others without due discussion and resolution.

All members should feel empowered and free to raise feedback/points of concern to the SWR co-founders in an open and transparent way regardless of how long a volunteer has served with SWR or their duties.

In urgent care situations, decisions will be made in the best interests of an animal. In these situations, a democratic system of majority vote – coupled with open and honest discussion either within a smaller group or, subject to the approval of co-founders.

Should anyone be unavailable to be consulted on a difficult care decision, it may unfortunately be necessary to decide without waiting for their view, given that it is in the best interests of a suffering animal not to be left in a state of suffering any longer than strictly necessary (this is also a requirement under relevant Animal Welfare law in the UK).

Wildlife rescue work can be sensitive, difficult, and potentially emotional in nature. If you are having issues with anything like this, please do speak up and we will do our best to listen and support you as an equal and valued member of the team.

Any disagreement in care decisions for a particular species, for instance the team member with the most experience with that species will have the final say. This is not because anyone ranks more highly than anyone else within SWR generally, but simply because it is assumed that the individual with the most training and experience in the area (relevant to a specific decision or situation) is equipped with the most knowledge and information to make decisions on behalf of an animal to provide the best possible care for its welfare, both short and long term.

We hope this gives a little more information about what we mean when we say that SWR is a non-hierarchical organisation.

We are so happy that you have joined our team and we will always welcome and hear your voice as an important contributor to our vital work helping injured and distressed wildlife. If you have any questions about this policy or how it might apply in a particular situation, please email and we’ll get back to you about this as soon as we can.