Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Sustrans

Patrick McCurry

Sustrans works on practical projects to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport. Its activities include co-ordinating delivery of the National Cycle Network.

Total income: £23.6m for year ending 31 March 2005, up from £12.2m in 2004.

Highest salary: One employee earned between £50,000 and £60,000.

Reserves policy: The charity aims to hold unrestricted reserves of up to three months' spending (disregarding grants awarded to partner bodies).

Reserves at year end were well below this level but had risen to about three weeks' spending, and the trustees aim to add to these in coming years.

Fundraising costs: The charity raised £2.1m in voluntary income and its fundraising costs were £474,000, giving it a fundraising ratio of 23p in the pound.

How performance is communicated: The annual review gives a lot of detail on the organisation's work but has a lot of text that is not always easy to absorb and references to many different projects, which can be confusing.

There is a list of objectives for the following year, but no reference to how the charity has done in meeting its objectives from the previous year. A separate monitoring report booklet on the National Cycle Network is actually much better presented and includes a list of outcomes resulting from the project. There is a lot of useful information on the website

The charity says: "During the year income nearly doubled, thanks largely to a Department for Transport grant towards our Links to Schools programme.

The £10m grant helped us create 147 links to more than 300 schools. We also completed our Green Routes, Safe Routes programme, supported by the New Opportunities Fund. Income from supporters increased 3.5 per cent during the year."

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