The IWHG accounts are now available through the links below. We would suggest you read the following notes first. The accounts are accompanied by the Treasurer’s/Secretary’s reports given at the AGMs.
The IWHG was set up in November 2004. It was not set up as a fundraising body. At that time the only funds available to us were the initial donations made by the participating breed bodies. The participating breed bodies were the IWC, the IWS, the IWCNI and the IWC of Ireland. Each breed body donated, with the permission of their committees, an initial £250 to facilitate the administrative set up and running of the Group, so we had £1,000 in the account. This fund is referred to as the Admin Pot and it is identified separately in the accounts as it does not, and should not, affect any donations made for project development and research or the Regional Heart Testing Scheme.
We have only made one further application to the breed bodies since this initial funding to top up the Admin Pot and that was in 2009 for a further £250 from each, so £750. When the IWC of Scotland was affiliated recently they also joined us and have donated £250 into the Admin Pot, which will be shown in this year’s accounts.
All representatives serving on the IWHG are voluntary, they pay for their own expenses and in many cases subsidise the running costs of the Group out of their own pocket by not claiming for costs incurred in their work.
As this was a ground-breaking and new venture for the breed bodies, we did not know what would be required in the future. The work we do and the way we operate has evolved, and accordingly our accounting has evolved as well. Initially, if the Group required any additional funds we would make a proposal to the IWC AGM and apply for funds from the IWC Health Fund and it would be voted on by the membership. At that time fundraising for health research in the breed was at a very much lower level and much lower profile, and the IWC Health Fund, contributed to by members and reviewed annually at the AGM, was the main route for funding.
As representatives of the breed bodies, the Group was not perceived as a standalone committee. However, from the outset we established guidelines to work to and we appointed officers in a Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer. At this stage the Treasurer reported to the Group meetings and there were annual reports made at the AGMs, but we were not dealing with significant funds that required formal accounting, so formal accounting and auditing only started in 2010.
You will see that the first set of audited accounts show the period 2005 – 2010 as this was the time that the Regional Heart Testing Scheme really began to be formalised and take off. Up to that point the Regional Heart Testing had been managed on the basis of the cardiologists’ fees per session being covered by number of dogs turning up. If someone cancelled, the cost per dog at a session would increase. It was a very early stage in piloting the scheme to see what the uptake would be and how viable it might be.
We have always identified and managed three different areas of accounting – the Admin Pot, the Project Development Fund (PDF) and the Regional Heart Testing Scheme. The Project Development Fund is where any funds donated for research or project development are put and they are kept totally separate from the admin of the Group and Regional Heart Testing. Regional Heart Testing is shown separately and we can monitor and record its viability and efficiency. It is a not-for-profit scheme and aims to cover its costs in a year. Any shortfall is covered from the Project Development Fund. This is usually as a result of the subsidy for the super-veterans, which has been required for several research projects so the subsidy is a justifiable claim on the project development fund.
The Regional Heart Testing Scheme is constantly under review and in the event that a session were to continually run at a loss we would make a decision to cancel that session rather than have a drain on the Project Development Fund. When the Scheme was first set up and establishing its coverage and the uptake was more variable, we decided at the outset that we would run several of the less financially successful sessions as an investment in that area for the future, to give it a chance. Luckily, the scheme has never run at a high level of loss – we have the reasonable fees charged by the cardiologists to thank for that and where some sessions may be down, the surplus from others helps balance that out.
As regional heart testing became more formalised so our funds in and out increased, and with that the need to account and audit more formally. At the same time people’s desire to donate directly to the IWHG increased, so gradually our funds have increased. However, the level of this funding has usually been relatively low and it is only in 2014 that significant funds have been raised. With the appointment of our Patron, Trudi Sumner, and the wonderful fundraising activities of so many hardworking fundraisers throughout the year, we ended 2014 with £18,298 in the bank accounts – an exceptional amount and a huge opportunity to support existing and potentially new projects.
Obviously, this does not mean that we have that total amount to spend; the funds comprise cash flow amounts for the regional heart testing, plus the Admin Pot, plus pre-allocated amounts. However, taking these into account, the available Project Development Fund at the end of 2014 stood at £17,692.
SO WHERE ARE WE UP TO NOW?
So far we have not allocated these funds. It is not something that we feel should be rushed into and once we have prepared our proposals, should take place in consultation with the breed bodies and where possible with the breed membership as well.
Whilst this year has seen a slowdown in donations, we have still had an excellent response in continued support and fundraising. At the time of going to print we have received donations for this year of £9,430, of which £2,266 has been specifically donated for the proposed new Nottingham University OSA Research, leaving a balance of general PD Funds of £7,164. Bringing forward the Project Development Funds from 2014 of £17,692 we now have an accumulated general PD Fund of £24,856.
This is a significant sum, but there are several calls on the PDF. We have to consider what existing research projects might require additional funds to continue their development, such as the Pneumonia Study or the existing heart research programmes. So far, the Group has identified and agreed the following areas that require funds allocated: the Pneumonia Study – requires ongoing support for the principal investigator, Dr Angela Bodey, for the day to day administration, set aside £3k to cover up to end 2016; for possible repairs and renewals for the mobile scanner for the Regional Heart Testing Scheme – set aside £3k; an allowance needs to be made for super-veteran subsidies, set aside £1k; an allowance needs to be set aside against unexpected amounts, set aside £1k. This leaves a general fund in the PDF of £16,856 plus the £2,266 specifically for the new OSA research.
Importantly, we have two new developments applying for funding for osteosarcoma research. The AHT’s long-standing research programme has now reached a stage where we are being asked to help fund DNA profiling. This is estimated to require an initial one off cost of £12,000.
At the same time, we have been approached by Nottingham University to partner in a new osteosarcoma research programme that requires a long-term commitment and investment by the breed. Currently, we are optimistic that this will proceed as the numbers required to ensure the study is significant are increasing daily. We are also seeing very dedicated fundraisers, generating amounts specifically allocated to this study to ensure that it has the best chance of going ahead. However, the funding for this new study has been identified as requiring an initial financial input from the breed of £10,000 per year for three years, so overall £30,000. This is a not inconsiderable amount and whilst we could fund the first year and a large part of the second, we have no guarantee of the fundraising within the breed being sufficient to meet that ongoing level of funding.
The Group is introducing funding application forms for the research programmes that have approached us to formalise their requests. We have a duty of care to ensure that any funds we place are in the best interests of the breed and that we are clear on what they hope to deliver and that there is accountability to the Group and report back in place.
We would like to think that the current funds can be allocated to a combination of existing studies and also to both the osteosarcoma projects, but we would need to be sure that we could carry on raising funds for the ongoing needs of the Notts Uni study and that would mean a sustained drive to meet annual fundraising targets. We have the most wonderful fund raisers, but this is a huge ask for everyone and we believe we should not support only one project exclusively to the possible detriment of other breed projects.
These are huge strides for the breed and exciting times, but funds that have been so carefully and painstakingly raised by you all need to be considered carefully before they are spent. We are keen to get new funding opportunities underway and will be reporting back on the outcome of discussions with the breed bodies shortly.
IWHG, November 2015