The numbers: TreeHouse Trust

TreeHouse is a national charity for autism education. It also runs a school in north London for children with autism.

Total income: £4m for the year ending 31 July, 2006, compared with £2.8m for the previous year.

Highest salary: One employee was paid between £80,000 and £90,000.

Reserves policy: The charity aims to build free reserves equivalent to six months' spending, which the trustees say will take several years. The charity is budgeting to make modest surpluses in the short to medium-term to increase reserves. At the end of the year, reserves were equivalent to two months' spending.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £402,000 on fundraising, and its voluntary income was £1.14m. This gives the charity a fundraising ratio of 35p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 55p in the pound.

Pension: There is a stakeholder pension scheme open to all staff. The charity also contributes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

How performance is communicated: The website ( has a lot of information, but it seems to be spread out. Useful information about the charity's work in developing its school and in lobbying Parliament is included in publications such as newsletters, which are available on the website. But there is an opportunity to bring together some of these achievements and performance data in one place, so that visitors to the website can more easily see how the charity is making a difference. The financial statements, which also contain useful data, are available on the website.

The charity says: "Income was 42 per cent higher than the previous year, reflecting the continued growth of TreeHouse as the school increased in size and the fundraising appeal for the new permanent building gathered momentum. In November 2005, we launched the Ambitious about Autism appeal to raise £11.5m for a permanent home."


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