Finance: The Numbers - The Children's Society

Patrick McCurry

The Children's Society is a campaigning and service-providing charity.

Its objective is to care for and support children and young people in need. It focuses on young refugees, children at risk on the streets, children in trouble with the law and disabled children.

Total income £39m for year ending 31 March 2004, up from £38m in 2002/03.

Highest salary: Chief executive Bob Reitemeier and one other director (who the charity declined to name) were paid between £70,000 and £80,000.

Reserves policy: The charity's policy is to have free reserves equivalent to between six and nine months' expected gross spending. At the end of the year reserves were £12.9m, about four months' spending.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £4.7m on fundraising and its donated income was £13m. This equates to 36p for every £1 raised. This was slightly up on the previous year, when the ratio was 35 per cent.

Pension: Under the FRS17 accounting rule, the final salary scheme, which was closed to new members in 2003, was in deficit by £11.3m at the end of the financial year. The charity had anticipated this deficit and has increased contributions in recent years to address it.

How performance is communicated: The trustees' report is colourless, but it does give a good commentary on issues such as the charity's fundraising method. A more reader-friendly description of the charity and its activities is provided in the glossy annual review. For reports, see www.the-childrens-society.org.uk.

The charity says: The Children's Society has been recording recurring surpluses in recent years, following a period of deficits. Increased income will be invested in new fundraising initiatives aimed at securing long-term growth for the organisation. This will allow the charity to develop its niche practice, working with England's most hard-to-reach children.

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