Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Action on Smoking and Health

Patrick McCurry

ASH campaigns to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco.

Total income: £546,000 for the year ending 31 March 2005, down from £669,000 in 2004.

Highest salary: Deborah Arnott, director, earned £50,000-£60,000.

Reserves policy: The charity aims to hold free reserves of three to six months' spending, equivalent to between £125,000 and £251,000.

As a result of a substantial legacy, reserves at the end of the financial year were £51,000 above the target range and the charity decided to gradually reduce reserves over the following three years to fund additional work.

Fundraising costs: None.

How performance is communicated

Although ASH is a relatively small charity, the trustees' report and annual review seem rather bland. The report covers ASH's activities, but has no description of the funding background and does not explain, for example, why income fell by about 20 per cent compared with the previous year.

However, the charity has developed a strategic plan for 2005/08, and this is available online. It includes an honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of the charity and the opportunities and threats it faces.

It also includes a list of success indicators to measure future performance.

Perhaps some of these topics could have been covered in the trustees' report or annual review, available online at www.ash.org.uk.

The charity says Our income dropped by 20 per cent in 2004/05 because we had received a substantial legacy the previous year, as set out in the reserves policy. ASH has been active in leading the campaign for a smoking ban, which will come into force in summer 2007 after MPs last week rejected compromises that would have exempted some pubs and clubs.

ASH also works on other tobacco control issues, including advertising and harm reduction.

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