Rnib group annual report and financial statements 2012/13

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RNIB Group annual report and financial statements 2012/13

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Trustees’ report and the audited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the “Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) – Accounting and Reporting by Charities (2005)” as revised in May 2008, and the Charities Act 2011. This report gives details of our work throughout the UK.


  • Chair and Chief Executive introduction

  • Structure and objectives

  • Trustees’ annual report: our work in 2012/13
    Stopping people losing their sight unnecessarily
    Supporting independent living
    Creating an inclusive society
    Financial review
    Fundraising review
    Our volunteers
    Employing disabled people
    Engagement with staff
    Investment policy
    Reserves policy
    Risk management
    Going concern
    Health, safety and the environment

  • Independent auditors’ report to the Trustees of RNIB

  • Consolidated statement of financial activities for the year ended

  • 31 March 2013

  • Balance sheets as at 31 March 2013

  • Group cash flow statement for the year ended 31 March 2013

  • Notes to the financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2013

  • Who’s who at RNIB

Chair and Chief Executive introduction

The last year has been an extremely challenging one for blind and partially sighted people, as well as for us as a group of charities. But despite the real problems that cuts to income and services are causing, we are extremely proud of our achievements.

During the year we have been consulting blind and partially sighted people and key stakeholders on the development of our 2014-2019 strategy. We have also been working very hard to deliver the goals we set ourselves in our existing strategy.
We continue to provide the support and services people with sight problems require in order to lead more independent lives. Our Helpline has been a vital source of support in recent years, as people struggle to cope with the impact on their lives of the economic climate. As well as seeing a growing complexity to these calls, last year we dealt with more enquiries than in any previous year. The fantastic success of our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) campaign will make a huge difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people as they are assessed for their eligibility for PIP as it replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA). On top of this our advice service continues its vital work identifying previously unclaimed benefits to which blind and partially sighted individuals are entitled. Across the group of charities we have continued to expand the quantity and quality of support available to people at the point of diagnosis of a sight threatening eye condition. There is now more support available in eye clinics, which is delivered by increasingly expert staff and volunteers.
Our work to create a better world for people with sight problems has led to some important progress this year. There are more talking cash machines which people can use independently and promises of many more to come. There are more mobile phones and internet sites that are set up so that blind and partially sighted people can use them effectively. More television programmes have audio description and we have the first talking digital TVs. Blind and partially sighted people have access to more eBooks than ever before. All these improvements, and much more besides, are a tribute to our work highlighting the issues faced by people with sight problems; and our expertise in working with industries to find innovative and creative solutions.
Toward the end of the year we launched the Spot the signs campaign as part of our work to prevent avoidable sight loss. Early indications are that the campaign has been a great success in bringing crucial eye health messages to people aged 50 plus, empowering them to spot the signs of sight loss at a point when they may still be able to do something about it. The long-term Community Engagement Projects are beginning to show what will help to get eye health messages to traditionally hard to reach communities at high risk of sight loss. Through our campaigning work we continue to have a positive impact on the development of local sight loss services and the availability of sight-saving treatments on the NHS.
It is impossible to reflect on this year without feeling immensely proud of our role working with the Olympic and Paralympic games organisers to make London 2012 the most accessible games yet. We achieved so much in terms of audio description, volunteering, employment and making venues and ticketing accessible to people with sight problems.
All of our achievements are thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Whether it is the work of local fundraising groups, the time volunteers give to help provide vital services, the extra mile to which our staff often go, or the kind people who leave us a legacy in their Will, all are equally precious.
Together we are making every day better for people with sight loss: by being there when people need us, supporting independent living, creating an inclusive society and preventing sight loss.
Kevin Carey

Lesley-Anne Alexander, CBE

Chief Executive

Structure and objectives

Our legal structure

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is a registered charity, number 226227, in England and Wales; number SCO39316 in Scotland; and number 1109 in the Isle of Man (foreign company number 5724F). Established in 1868, RNIB was incorporated under Royal Charter in 1949, with a Supplemental Charter in 1993 (revised in 2007).
RNIB is governed by a Trustee Board of 19 currently that meets a minimum of four times a year and takes all important strategic, policy and financial decisions, and has overall responsibility for RNIB Group activities. There are no restrictions on the way in which the Charity can operate.
A number of Trustees are elected to serve on the Board. Five Trustees are elected by the English region representatives of the UK Members’ Forum and the RNIB Cymru, Northern Ireland and Scotland Committees each elect a Country Chair who automatically becomes a Trustee on the Board. RNIB’s Honorary Officers are elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Board and the UK Members’ Forum.
Additionally a proportion of our Trustees are appointed by the Board itself, following a process of open competition. Advertisements are placed in appropriate publications and websites. Candidates are invited to apply on the basis of a Trustee job description, person specification and the specific skills identified by the Board. Applications are reviewed against the person specification and the specialist skills and experience being sought by the Board. Points are then awarded on the basis of how well the candidate met the criteria. Shortlisted applicants are invited to interview and again are scored against the selection criteria. At the conclusion of the process, successful candidates are recommended to the Board for appointment.
Trustees serve a three-year term of office, following which they can choose to retire or may seek re-election/re-appointment. However, no Trustee may serve for more than three consecutive terms of three years of office, unless they become one of the Charity’s Honorary Officers (RNIB Group Chair, Vice-Chairs or Honorary Treasurer) when they can serve for no more than three consecutive terms of three years in that capacity from the AGM at which they are appointed to that position.
An induction pack is provided to all new Trustees and they are invited to attend an intensive induction day during which they are provided with information on the key services provided by RNIB and the main challenges and policy issues facing the Charity. Each Trustee receives an annual appraisal during which any individual training needs are identified. Where collective training needs are established, these are delivered to the Board on a collective basis. Recently delivered training includes voice coaching (including voice coaching for chairing meetings) and trustee duties and responsibilities (with particular emphasis on management of conflicts of interests). Arrangements are in hand to deliver a programme of support for Trustees to give them greater insight into RNIB’s finances and the interpretation of financial statements.

How we are managed

The Board delivers the strategy through a number of programme boards. It is also supported by a number of committees and member forums. The key committees supporting the Board and a description of their areas of responsibility are as follows:

  • RNIB Group Audit Committee: oversees effective auditing, financial reporting, internal controls and risk management within RNIB.

  • Executive Committee: pre-digests complex matters for the RNIB Group Board; advises the Board with a view to ensuring the alignment of budget and service priorities, including consideration of the budget and business plan. Acts as programme board for the Enabler Programme that underpins the RNIB Group Strategy 2009-14.

  • Governance Committee (and Nominations Committee): takes an overview of the governance arrangements of RNIB and supports the Board and Strategic Management Team (SMT) in ensuring that effective governance structures are in place. Appoints a panel to review nominations and act as interview panel for Trustee applicants.

  • International Committee: delivers the international element of RNIB Group Strategy 2014-19 and acts as the planning, co-ordinating and monitoring forum for RNIB’s international affairs.

  • Investments Sub-Committee: oversees the effective investment of funds for the Charity on behalf of the Board. Acts in an advisory role on the effective investment of funds to the Trustees of the RNIB Retirement Benefits Scheme.

  • Remuneration Committee: reviews the salaries for the Chief Executive and Group Directors and other relevant matters, such as the general position relating to remuneration at RNIB.

  • Trustees Review Payments Committee: reviews whether it is in the interests of RNIB to pay or contract with Trustees or connected persons or any other individual involved in RNIB Governance, for the provision of services to the organisation, rather than any other company or individual.

  • RNIB Cymru Committee: takes an overview of the arrangements and range of services for blind and partially sighted people in Cymru and supports the Board and SMT in ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place within the context of RNIB’s Strategy.

  • RNIB Northern Ireland Committee: takes an overview of the arrangements and range of services for blind and partially sighted people in Northern Ireland and supports the Board and SMT in ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place within the context of RNIB’s Strategy.

  • RNIB Scotland Committee: takes an overview of the arrangements and range of services for blind and partially sighted people in Scotland and supports the Board and SMT in ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place within the context of RNIB’s Strategy.

RNIB’s schools and colleges have their own governing bodies.

The day-to-day management of RNIB is delegated to SMT, comprising the Chief Executive, and the Group Directors of:

  • Prevention and International Affairs

  • Supporting Independent Living

  • Inclusive Society

  • Solutions

  • Fundraising

  • Resources

  • and the Chief Executive of Action for Blind People.

The Chief Executive of RNIB Group, with the support of the rest of SMT, reports to the Board of Trustees for approval of all major decisions. Full details of SMT can be found in the section “Who’s who at RNIB”.

RNIB Membership

At March 2013 we had 10,448 (2012: 10,252) members forming a strong community and voice for blind and partially sighted people. The UK Members’ Forum supports the Board and influences policy via the “on the ground” experiences of our blind and partially sighted members. Members also influence our work through regional and country forums. Every member is kept up to date with the latest news from RNIB via our award-winning members’ magazine “Vision”.
The supplemental charter and bye-laws require that a majority of the Board of Trustees, UK Members' Forum and all other aspects of RNIB’s governance structure are blind or partially sighted.

Our registered office

We are registered at 105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE, telephone 020 7388 1266.

Statement of Trustees’ responsibilities

The Trustees are responsible for preparing the Trustees’ Annual Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice).
The law applicable to charities in England and Wales, and Scotland requires the Trustees to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Charity and the Group and of the incoming resources and application of resources of the Group for that period.
In preparing these financial statements, the Trustees are required to:

  • select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;

  • observe the methods and principles in the Charities SORP;

  • make judgments and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;

  • state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements; and

  • prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Charity will continue in business.

The Trustees are responsible for keeping proper accounting records that disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Charity and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Charities Act 2011, the Charity (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 and the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (as amended) and the provisions of the Charity’s constitution. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Charity and the Group and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

The Trustees are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the Charity and financial information included on the Charity’s website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.

Our vision and mission

Our work starts from our vision:

“A world where people who are blind or partially sighted enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, opportunities and quality of life as people who are sighted.”

Our mission is:

“To challenge blindness by empowering people who are blind or partially sighted, removing the barriers they face and helping to prevent blindness.”

There are 1.87 million people in the UK living with a sight problem that has a significant impact on their lives.

Achieving our mission

In order to achieve our mission, RNIB Group Strategy 2009-2014 aligns our work under three clear priorities:

1. Stopping people losing their sight unnecessarily

In support of the UK Vision Strategy, a VISION 2020 (UK) Limited initiative of over 650 individuals and organisations led by RNIB, we work with partners to save the sight of thousands of people at high risk of losing their sight, whilst developing models, political will and NHS capacity to make an even bigger impact on unnecessary sight loss in the future.

The needs of people at the point of diagnosis are often unmet, slow to be met or inadequately met. These failings mean that people often do not have the support they need to rebuild their lives following sight loss. We take proactive steps to ensure that people are supported on a one-to-one basis, meeting their emotional, practical and information needs.

2. Supporting independent living

To help blind and partially sighted people get on with their lives we provide a wide range of support and services. Our work includes education and employment services, and providing person-centred support to assist people through changes in sight loss or personal circumstances, enabling the development of the skills needed to tackle life’s challenges.

Sight loss in people with complex needs often goes unrecognised. We work to improve recognition levels as well as the environment and workforce skills in settings where people with complex needs are supported.
3. Creating an inclusive society

It is essential that blind and partially sighted people can get around, shop, bank and control their money independently. RNIB aims to ensure that mainstream and specialist support services are available to people who require personal assistance to undertake these activities and influence a step-change in the accessibility of services delivered by transport operators, retailers and banks.

By improving access to books, magazines, newspapers, TV, radio and information and communication technologies, the independence of blind and partially sighted people will be increased and they will be able to take full advantage of current accessible services and technologies. We also aim to influence laws, standards and industries to increase inclusive design and access.
Specific programmes of work have been developed to help us deliver our ambitious goals. Each of these has a programme board which supports the Board of Trustees. These are:

  • Prevention of sight loss

  • Early reach

  • Living with sight loss

  • Supporting children and adults with complex needs

  • Inclusive travel, shopping and control of money

  • Inclusive reading, TV and technology

  • Funding our ambition

  • Enabling our ambition.

Statement of public benefit

The Trustees confirm that they have complied with the duty in section 17 of the Charities Act 2011 to have due regard to the Charity Commission’s general guidance on public benefit, “Charities and Public Benefit”.
RNIB’s charitable objects are enshrined within its Charter and as such the Trustees ensure that this Charter is carried out for the public benefit through our three strategic priorities. This is done through delivery of services that whilst aimed primarily at those who are blind or partially sighted, are where appropriate open to all who might benefit throughout the United Kingdom.
Membership of RNIB is not a requirement to use our services.
Where we provide specialist services or products for which we charge and these are supplied directly to blind and partially sighted people then we provide a significant subsidy for these from our own charitable funds. Where fees are paid through central or local government or commercial organisations then the pricing model covers the costs for the delivery of the service and long term maintenance and development. We also where necessary provide individuals with access to assistance in applying for funding.
This report allows us to show how our charitable funds are distributed and spent, and the benefits and impact that has on those using the services and the wider impact on society for the reported year and in the future.

Relationship with other charities

We maintain close links and support the aims of other organisations such as local, national and international charities working with or for people with sight problems. We also work closely with other disability charities on issues of mutual concern. We deliver services in partnership with some societies for blind and partially sighted people, and some of our funding comes from charities and trusts which support our aims.
Between April 2009 and February 2010 we formed associations with Action for Blind People (Action), Cardiff, Vales and Valleys (CVV) and National Talking Newspapers and Magazines (NTNM) enabling us to share skills and expertise to reach more people with sight problems in a more cost effective way. We have carried out a full merger with NTNM on 30 June 2013.
In September 2010 the Charity Commission approved a Scheme whereby RNIB became the sole corporate trustee of the Glynn Vivian Home of Rest for the Blind (Glynn Vivian). This charity operated a Care Home in Wales which had closed prior to us becoming the sole trustee. The Home has now been sold and the proceeds of the sale have been earmarked for services to blind and partially sighted people in Wales.

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