Veterinary charity PDSA income grew by 11 per cent to reach over £100m for the first time, its latest annual accounts for have shown, but made nearly 60 staff redundant after restructuring and closing some of its charity shops.
Its total income for the year ending December 2016 was £102.1m, but the expenditure continued to exceed income by £3.6m. Although the charity’s deficit was a much less than the previous year when it was £15.7m, the consolidated accounts show.
Almost half the charity's income was from legacies, with it receiving £45m. Its other highest sources of income were the People’s Postcode Lottery and the launch of its new veterinary product range Vet Care.
John Smith, the charity’s chair, said: “Despite these successes, raising income remains a priority as the regulatory environment in which all charities operate continues to present new challenges. Expenditure still exceeded income by £3.6m and, despite the many uncertainties which exist, our future goal is to bring our income and expenditure at least into balance.”
He continued: “Ongoing cost control is an essential part of charity governance, not least during a period in which, in common with many other organisations, cash contributions to our pension scheme have increased, despite the many actions we have taken over recent years to limit our pension liabilities. So it is pleasing to confirm that we have reduced our costs substantially in support areas and have achieved further efficiencies in our fundraising activities.”
The charity also paid out £170,000 in redundancy payments, although this was down from £205,000 last year.
PDSA said that in 2016, 58 employees were made redundant as a result of “widespread restructuring of support areas and closure of selected shops”.
Despite a decrease in redundancy costs, the actual number of redundancies was up from 2015, when it was 47. The average number of employees was also down by 106 from 2015, to 1,593 for the year.
In 2016 the highest earning employee earned between £140,000 and £150,000, which PDSA said was the director general. In 2015, two employees had earned over £150,000. In 2016 the total remuneration of the executive team was £655,000, this is down from 2015 when the total remuneration of the executive team in 2015 was £808,000.
Pension provision increase
PDSA said there was an increase required to the pension provision of £31.5m, to £57.7m.
It said there was a "very large actuarial loss of £28.9m in 2016", whereas 2015 saw a £1.9m gain, for the defined benefit pension scheme. The charity said that the “main reasons behind the large movement were assumptions relating to liabilities, with the discount rate decreasing by approximately 1.5 per cent over 2015, and inflation increasing by approximately 0.35 per cent over 2015”.
PDSA said that the defined benefit pension scheme has been closed to new employees since 2006 and has a deficit of £57.7m as of 31 December 2016. The scheme will close to future accrual with effect from 5 April 2019 following a transition period which commenced on 1 July 2016 following consultation.
PDSA, which will reach its centenary in 2017, spent £71.6m on public benefit. It has reserves of £55m, which was above its minimum level of £48m.
The accounts note the investigation into PDSA by the Information Commissioner’s Office into its fundraising practices, after concerns were raised in the press about some charities user of high pressure fundraising techniques.
The charity said: “Throughout 2016 PDSA cooperated fully with the ICO in their detailed investigations and we have agreed a number of actions with the ICO which will further improve our policies and working practices.”