The Air Ambulance Service

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The Air Ambulance Service
Abbreviation TAAS
Formation 2005
Legal status Registered charity
Purpose Finance and co-ordination of three UK air ambulance charities
Location
  • Hazell House, Burnthurst Lane, Princethorpe, CV23 9QA
Region served UK
Chief Executive Andrew Williamson[1]
Website www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk

The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) is a registered charity in the UK that manages three air ambulance appeal charities:[2][3] Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance and Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, and The Children's Air Ambulance.

The Air Ambulance Service's ambition for the future of the UK's air ambulance charities is for them to all merge under one identity and lose their established, county identities. The charities in question largely disapprove of this proposal.[4]

Operations[edit]

TAAS runs three services, two are emergency helipcopters covering Warwickshire, Northamptonsire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland and the third is The Children's Air Ambulance that covers England and provides an emergency transfer service for seriously ill babies and children.[5]

Funding[edit]

The Air Ambulance Service is an independent charity that receives no government or lottery funding, like all the air ambulances in England. TAAS is entirely funded by corporate and public donations. In 2011, the charity raised £5,519,000 and spent £5,321,000.[6] Whilst the charity spent £3 million on charity activity, it spent over £2 million on governance.

In December 2011, The Air Ambulance Service started a new charity called TAA Service, indicating that this will be the new umbrella charity for the three services it oversees.[7] The trustees of the new TAA Service are mostly made up of trustees of TAAS and TCAA.[8]

Strategy[edit]

TAAS appear to have an aggressive stance on fundraising and operations. They have previously spoken of amalgamating all UK air ambulance charities and operations into one.[9] Their charity strategy listing their goals for the coming year states their wish to be the 'national authority on HEMS', they want to 'achieve a dominant market share of donations' and be an 'organisation of excellence accepted by all.'[10]

Criticisms[edit]

In 2010, volunteers for The Air Ambulance Service announced they intended to 'resign in protest', and leave their roles, after the salaries of senior staff at the charity were disclosed. This happened again in 2013 when it was revealed that senior staff were paid up to £55,000, senior managers were paid up to £120,000 and the Chief Executive, Andy Williamson, was paid over £110,000. The volunteers felt these salaries were too high. The charity responded saying that the large salaries attracted the best staff, and therefore accounted for the charity's improved track record in fundraising and successful missions, and that Williamson was 'one of the most successful charity bosses in the UK.' [11][12]

In October 2012 the Police Aviation News magazine reported on the controversy surrounding the takeover by TAAS of TCAA. Criticisms include questioning whether a Children's Air Ambulance covering England and Wales is needed in the first place. [13]

In 2013, the head of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance criticised the choice of name and fundraising tactics of TAA. Claiming that their name caused misunderstanding, with potential donors thinking that the Air Ambulance Service represents all UK air ambulance charities when it actually only represents three of them.[14][15]

In 2013, the BBC published an insight into the charity, with previous employees of the charity as sources. The article stated that several thousands of pounds were spent on hiring Anton du Beke and Erin Boag to give dance classes to staff as a reward. The source, a former fundraising manager, also said that funds raised were largely spent on 'the upkeep of the charity: salaries, cars, the recruitment of more and more senior personnel.' [16] And in some cases performance related bonuses.[17]

In 2013, complaints were made from residents on the Isle of Wight after they felt mislead donating textiles to TAA, mistakenly thinking they were for the local air ambulance. TAAS issued a statement saying that all its bags are always clearly marked with the destination for the donation.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/jun/11/3
  2. ^ "Our Services | What We Do | The Air Ambulance Service | TAAS". The Air Ambulance Service. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  3. ^ Published on Tuesday 9 October 2012 08:56 (2012-10-09). "Find out more about the Air Ambulance - Local - Mansfield and Ashfield Chad". Chad.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  4. ^ http://helihub.com/2012/10/12/taas-wants-all-uk-air-ambulance-operations-to-merge-into-one/
  5. ^ http://helihub.com/2012/11/06/uk-third-ems-aw109-enters-service/
  6. ^ "Charity overview". Charity-commission.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  7. ^ http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityFramework.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1144929&SubsidiaryNumber=0
  8. ^ http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/ContactAndTrustees.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1111780&SubsidiaryNumber=0&TID=3278901
  9. ^ http://helihub.com/2012/10/12/taas-wants-all-uk-air-ambulance-operations-to-merge-into-one/
  10. ^ http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/SIR/ENDS74/0001098874_SIR_20111231_E.PDF
  11. ^ http://www.loughboroughecho.net/news/loughborough-news/2010/03/10/air-ambulance-volunteers-hit-out-at-salaries-paid-to-charity-bosses-73871-26003135/
  12. ^ http://helihub.com/2012/10/12/taas-wants-all-uk-air-ambulance-operations-to-merge-into-one/
  13. ^ http://www.policeaviationnews.com/Acrobat/198PANOctober2012.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21262616
  15. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21290338
  16. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21290338
  17. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21290338
  18. ^ http://iwcp.co.uk/news/news/confusion-over-air-ambulance-donations-49146.aspx

External links[edit]