Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Royal London Society for the Blind

Patrick McCurry

The Royal London Society for the Blind provides education, training and employment services to blind and partially sighted people.

Total income: £10.8m for the year ending 31 July 2005, up from £9.4m in 2004.

Highest salary: Chief executive Brian Cooney earned between £110,000 and £120,000.

Reserves policy: The charity aims to hold free reserves equivalent to 15 weeks' unrestricted operating spending. It is budgeting to increase reserves to this level over the next four to five years, but at the last year end reserves were equivalent to less than nine weeks' spending.

Fundraising costs: The charity raised £3.3m in donations and its fundraising costs were £605,000, giving it a fundraising ratio of 18p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 30 per cent.

How performance is communicated: The trustees' report and accounts give a good description of the charity's work. The charity attempts to show how it is meeting its objectives by listing clear strategies and targets. It lists its aims from the previous year and relates these to specific performance in 2004/05.

The report can be downloaded from, the charity's website. But the performance information does not seem to feature in the main website sections - not even in condensed form - and might therefore be missed by members of the public seeking information on the charity.

The charity says: "We have had an excellent year for income generation and our partnerships with organisations such as Kent County Council and West Kent College are enabling us to meet the needs of a greater number of blind and partially sighted children and young adults. Employment services for adults is a key area for development, as is the transition from college life to living in the community."

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