‘Excellence in Reporting’ in the Public Sector

This award will be presented jointly with the National Audit Office.

We will review the annual report and supporting year end reporting documents such as business plans.

The ‘Excellence in Reporting’ in the Public Sector award is changing - this year we are re-focusing the award to judge the bodies at the heart of government and hence of public reporting:  All Ministerial departments and the largest Agencies and Arms Length Bodies.

Corporate reporting excellence is demonstrated when engaging, relevant, reliable and timely information is provided without unnecessary clutter; when a balance is achieved between the three pillars of reporting - content, quality and integration. Within content we look at the information the company has chosen to report – does it include all the critical, and relevant, elements our research with preparers and users globally tells us they need to understand the quality and sustainability of performance? Quality refers to the depth and materiality of the information – does the company use only qualitative information or is narrative supported with quantitative data, when relevant, benchmarks and targets? Does the reporting cover the past, present and future? Finally, for integration, we consider how well a company demonstrates a clear, consistent and balanced message across its communication channels and the linkage and inter-dependencies between the different elements reported, as well as relating them back to the strategic themes set out as key to company success in the short, medium and longer-term.

UK reporting has undergone a year of transition following new reporting regulations including the introduction of the strategic report. Alongside this initiative, such as the FRC’s Reporting Lab and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), continue to challenge the status quo and encourage innovative ideas to improve the depth, breadth and quality of reporting. Our award continues to give credit to those making real inroads in adopting these concepts and leading the way in driving fresh thinking and innovation. Transparent and insightful reporting is not necessarily about more information but about de-cluttering existing structures, taking a fresh approach to traditional disclosures and exploring innovative approaches to meeting the needs of investors and other key stakeholders.

Specific areas we focus on include:

  • A clear and balanced explanation of the impact (both positive and negative) of trends and factors shaping the company’s current and future market environment, supported by a comprehensive analysis of its marketplace.
  • A description of the long-term direction of the company, supported by the short-term strategic priorities, actions and resources needed to pursue this, with clear use of specific targets.
  • A consistent strategic narrative.
  • An insight into the company’s business model and the key resources and relationships managed by the company in order to fulfil its strategic objectives.
  • A clear analysis of the profile and dynamics of the principal risks the company faces, including how they are managed and mitigated.
  • An explanation of how strategic performance is measured over time, accompanied by supporting trend data and future targets.
  • Clear and accessible disclosures of key financial measures that drive the capital markets, in particular underlying performance, cash, debt and segmental information.
  • Insight into how management have considered its organisation’s dependency, and impact, on key resources and relationships across its value chain as a way of future proofing its business model for the short, medium and longer term.
  • Governance reporting that focuses on substance over form – balancing compliance with insight into how the governance structure is an enabler for meeting strategic objectives.
  • How the directors have evaluated what is to be included/excluded from its reporting (materiality process, stakeholder responsiveness etc).

This award will be judged by the BPTA Judging Panel sitting on 16 September 2014.