2021 Annual Review: investing in the future of anaesthesia
During 2021, the College invested in new technology to allow us to continue to deliver our services despite the restrictions imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
The College 2020-21 Annual Report and Accounts reported a net increase in the value of College funds of £1.3m to £33.8m, following a decrease of £1.6m in 2019-20.
For further details of our financial performance during 2020-21, please see the summarised financial statements in this review or visit our website for the full set of accounts. Our external auditors were satisfied with the accounts, giving them an unqualified opinion.
However, in 2021, as a result of the impact of the pandemic and after a detailed analysis of the College finances, the trustees identified that the College had a structural budget deficit. This means we are currently spending more than we are receiving in income. As a result, the College has set a deficit budget of £572k (for the financial year 2021-22).
This structural budget deficit has built up over a number of years through our determination to improve our membership offer and increase our work to support the specialty.
The trustees are committed to eliminate this deficit by 2024. To this end, they have developed plans to both reduce costs and source new income, which will come to fruition over the coming years.
The trustees will also use the business plan that supports the new strategy to ensure that we balance our resources, delivering our strategic objectives and returning the College finances to a strong and sustainable position for the future.
Investing for service delivery
During 2021, the College invested in new technology to allow us to continue to deliver our services despite the restrictions imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
This meant that no examination had to be cancelled in 2021, with the College creating additional capacity to meet the demand from exam candidates.
Investing in technology platforms allowed us to deliver virtual conferences in 2021 such as Anaesthesia 2021 and the Lessons for the Future of Anaesthesia & Critical Care conference. These attracted the highest ever number of delegates for educational events.
We continue to improve our members’ ability to interact digitally with us, with the creation of our single sign-on platform, that we will further develop in future years to link all College services.
Our estate and non-charitable activities
Our non-charitable activity income is used to fund College services, subsidising charges we have to make.
Due to restrictions resulting from the pandemic, the activity of our trading company was severely impaired during 2021. Its main activity of selling excess space at Churchill House to other charities and other trusted partners all but ceased. Even when restrictions were lifted, we did not see a return of our customers in significant numbers.
The reduced demand for use of our estate, combined with our shift to home working in 2020, progressing to hybrid working in 2021, has led to the trustees commissioning a workspace survey to review the College’s future estate needs. This will report in the first half of 2022.
In comparison, the value of our investments continued to improve during 2021, with our investment managers producing good capital and income growth. This builds on the recovery seen in the latter half of 2020 following the market correction at the beginning of the pandemic.