Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity missed its fundraising target by £5.7m in the last financial year, according to its most recent accounts.
The accounts for the year to March 2017 show the charity raised £88m from fundraising, down on the year before, and missed its target for the year. It said income "fell short of our target by £5.7m".
It said the main reason for the shortfall was the "slower progress on the construction of the Zayed Centre for Research with related donations being due when milestones are achieved".
The charity’s income, before investment gains, was flat at £93m. The charity said that gains the value of its investments meant it had hit its overall income target.
The accounts also reference that the charity was fined along with 10 other charities in April 2017 - after the end of the accounting period covered in the accounts - for breaches of data protection law including screening donors so they could target them for additional funds and trading data with other charities.
It says it was “disappointed” with the ICO’s decision and that the fine was paid “by a small minority of supporters” and did not come out of existing funds.
Reviewed its fundraising
It says it has taken a number of steps to review its fundraising practices since the ICO investigation began in 2015, including stopping all the activities criticised by the regulator.
The charity says it has reviewed all its practices against the Code of Fundraising Practice, and with continue to assess it in future. It also says it has strengthened its compliance resources, systems and processes.
“We take our responsibilities to our donors and supporters extremely seriously and sincerely regret any distress caused by fundraising activities in the past,” it adds.
In 2016/2017, the charity also received a 34 per cent increase in the number of complaints it received from charity supporters, from 392 the previous year to 526.
It says: “This increase principally reflects higher levels of activity in our direct marketing fundraising, in particular door-to-door fundraising.
“We understand that some people do not like this method of fundraising and we regret and apologise where its use causes any offence or upset.
“In cases where our investigation shows that methods or behaviours of third party fundraisers have not meet our expectations we take steps to ensure that appropriate follow up action is taken either to retrain or discipline persons responsible.”
At the start of 2017 the charity completed a merger with medical research organisation Sparks Charity. It was acquired at no cost to the charity so Spark’s £1.4m assets were recorded under income.
Post-Brexit staff shortage
Meanwhile, the organisation the charity supports, Great Ormond Street Hospital, has expressed concern that it could face a staff shortage post-Brexit if it is unable to recruit from EU nations.
Peter Steer, chief executive of GOSH, says in the introduction to the organisation’s recently filed accounts for the financial year ending March 2017 that a third of the organisation’s senior medical and research staff, and more than a fifth of its nurses, are from EU nations.
He writes: “The impact of Brexit is therefore a major threat to GOSH, and we will continue to urge the government to ensure EU professionals are supported to come and work with us.”
The charity reported a significant increase in its number of volunteers, rising by more than 20 per cent to just over 1,000 people.
“Our volunteers work across 72 different roles, ranging from play volunteers and befrienders, to information desk volunteers and ward administrators,” the report says.
The organisation says it faces challenges including “increasing costs, a requirement for stronger collaboration between care providers and commissioners, and a shortage of nurses and junior doctors”.
It adds: “However, the environment also presents some exciting opportunities.
“For example, research helps us to continuously advance the treatments we offer, our services will become increasingly digital to reduce costs and improve access, and our buildings and facilities are being redeveloped to be inspiring and uplifting for our patients.”
This story has been amended to make clear that Great Ormond Street was fined in April 2017, after the end of the financial year referred to in the accounts, and that the fundraising shortfall was not caused by the fine.