Trustees' Report and Accounts
The RSPB’s accounts have been prepared in accordance with the recommendations of the Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice (revised 2005) (SORP).
We have also prepared the Operating statement to assist readers who simply wish to gain an overview of the RSPB’s financial position
Net income available for charitable purposes
Net income (money available for charitable purposes), at £89.3 million, was slightly down on the previous year.
Grant income was lower because, in 2011, we received £1.2million shortly before year-end that was earmarked by the donor for the restoration of Bowers Marsh in Essex. Had we received it a couple of weeks later, grant income would have been stable over the two years. Membership subscriptions and donations include tax recovery under the Gift Aid scheme which fell by around £0.7 million due to the end of the “transition relief” which was introduced by the Government to cushion the impact of reducing the basic rate of income tax from 22% to 20% in 2008.
The continued backing we receive from our members and supporters means that the underlying income trend was stable in spite of challenging times.
Net income is shown after deducting the £17.9 million cost of generating income and a further £12.5 million cost of goods for resale by our trading operation. The majority of products sold, such as bird food and feeders, optics, wildlife books and videos, relate directly to our charitable objectives.
The cost of generating income increased due to inflationary pressure in a number of areas such as printing and postage costs. We also invested in future income growth; by bringing our processes up to date and promoting the opportunity for supporters to upgrade their annual subscription to a monthly amount of their choice.
Expenditure on charitable purposes
Expenditure on land purchases and associated visitor facilities increased by £1 million from a comparatively low base in 2010. The availability of grants and the high price of land continue to constrain our aspirations.
The diversity of our income streams gave us the financial stability to continue to increase our conservation and education work, spending £1.2 million more than last year.
Administrative overheads, including governance, are approximately 5% of our charitable expenditure and membership related costs a further 5%. This
leaves 90% of our resources available to be spent directly on delivering our conservation objectives.
Net operating income and financial reserves
The RSPB is committed to putting its income to work as soon as possible. The £3.6 million surplus has been earmarked for projects that extend beyond the end of the financial year.
Funds held for specific purposes, at £25.3 million, include money required for future working capital and a threat fund to cushion our key work programmes against uncertain times ahead.
Free financial reserves are held at a modest level to maximise the funds available for immediate conservation needs. We hold just 11 weeks’ worth of expenditure in free financial reserves.
The Statement of net assets includes Nature reserves held at their original cost, less depreciation where applicable, and the defined benefit Pension liability. The net liability of the scheme, at £46.7 million, increased due to the combined effects of the depressed asset values (due to the impact on stock markets of continuing economic difficulties), a higher actuarial valuation of our liabilities (due to low interest rates) and increased life expectancy. The scheme is relatively immature in that there are significantly more contributing members than pensioners; therefore the net liability of the scheme will not crystallise for some years. In view of this and the medium term recovery plan, the RSPB trustees do not consider the liability to represent a significant constraint over the use of financial reserves for the foreseeable future.
The last full actuarial review was completed in July 2010. The actions taken as a result of this review were a reduction in benefits accruing of around 25% and a sharing with scheme members of the risk of future increases in longevity. The final salary section of the scheme was closed to new entrants in February 2007. The assets and liabilities of the pension scheme are reviewed every three years, following which a plan is agreed with the pension scheme trustees to make good any deficit. The next review began on 1 April 2012.