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Award categories and criteria 2021

Each of the Building Public Trust Awards is judged using a set of criteria designed to reflect openness in an organisation's communications to stakeholders.

Now in their 19th year, our Building Public Trust Awards celebrate organisations who are leading the way in fair, open and insightful reporting and communications. The winners are announced across our dinner and other events which will be taking place in Autumn this year.

Click on the award titles shown below for more information on each of the categories and their criteria.

Sector awards for reporting in

Charities

Registered Charities in the Charity Finance ‘Charity 100 Index’ published in April 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

We will review the latest publicly available trustees’ annual report and accounts, and associated year end reporting documents, up to the reporting period ended 31 March 2021.

There is a continuing need for the Charity sector to work hard to maintain its trusted status with the public and demonstrate its purpose and wider societal impact. This award recognises high quality and innovative reporting by Charities, which should make an impact on readers of its annual report and accounts. The principles of high quality reporting should result in better - not necessarily more - information, and tell the reader a clear and compelling story about what the Charity does, why its activities are important and what its impact has been.

Key principles:

  • The Charity's annual report and accounts are easy to read and engage the reader to find out more about its purpose, current activities and future plans. The Charity's annual report and accounts are open, balanced and authentic.
  • The Charity clearly communicates its purpose, strategic priorities and values in the context of the sphere in which it operates. The Charity considers its position in the context of its wider operational landscape.
  • The Charity is open and honest about how it approaches key societal issues, including, where relevant, its approach to fundraising, investments, safeguarding and environment. The Charity is transparent in its disclosure of and rationale for senior management remuneration. The Charity demonstrates how it is responding to changes in a digital world.
  • The Charity clearly explains who its key stakeholders are, with particular focus on its beneficiaries. The Charity recognises what its responsibility is to the public and how its activities benefit them.
  • The Charity clearly explains how it is governed, what its risks are and how it manages and mitigates them in relation to its current activities, the environment in which it operates and its future plans.
  • The Charity sets out its measures of success and why these are important in delivering its purpose. The Charity clearly explains the impact it has made for its beneficiaries as well as wider society.
  • The Charity clearly articulates the drivers behind its financial performance and position, including any ethical, value for money and sustainability considerations. The Charity is transparent in its considerations of its reserves and ongoing viability.
  • The Charity presents a consistent and compelling strategic narrative with explicit alignment between all of the key elements outlined above.
Clear and engaging report

FTSE 350

Questions continue to rage over the role of business in society. Investor, regulator and wider societal attention remains focused on how companies balance the needs of stakeholders in their decision-making while navigating the impact of the pandemic and recognition of the growing urgency of climate change.

This award celebrates those companies that present a clear, coherent and integrated strategic narrative across their channels of communication which acknowledges the challenges, and opportunities, presented by the pandemic; recognises their wider impact and the value they create for their key stakeholders; and presents a resilient strategic vision of their short-term actions and longer-term priorities to ensure the sustainability of their business model.

The FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. The companies reviewed will be those with year ends from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and we will review the annual report, sustainability report and other reporting channels such as preliminary results, investor presentation and corporate website. There is no need to self-nominate.

FTSE 350

Impact in Social Enterprise (in association with the School for Social Entrepreneurs)

Social and environmental enterprises trade to tackle social and environmental issues, improve communities and people's life chances. Measuring impact is the recognised way in which a social enterprise can demonstrate how it’s delivering on its mission and the value created for its beneficiaries and society.

This award recognises social enterprises demonstrating a positive social or environmental impact. Applications are open to all UK-based social enterprises. To enter the awards, applicants must state how they demonstrate a positive social or environmental impact in 500 words or less, with the additional support of up to two pieces of evidence e.g. impact report, annual accounts, testimonials, case studies etc. We will be interested to hear from applicants as to how they have responded or adapted through COVID-19.

Prior to presenting the short list to the independent judging panel we consult representatives from the School for Social Entrepreneurs, other stakeholders and social enterprises. Our subject matter experts use the following principles to screen applications. These include that the social enterprise:

Social Enterprise

* ‘Impact’ has different definitions in the fields of impact measurement, evaluation, and accounting for social or environmental value, and we’re open to different approaches to the topic. When reviewing impact reports and evidence the judging panel will take into account the focus area and size of enterprise applying e.g. we wouldn't expect an in depth counterfactual impact evaluation from a small start up organisation.

** Although not essential we are interested in how social enterprises have responded or adapted through Covid-19 to create positive impact (which may or may not include changes to impact measurement or evaluation methods).

Find out more information on this award and nominate yourself

Overseas Investment (in association with the Department for International Trade)

The largest overseas-headquartered companies, based on number of employees and turnover at 31 March 2021, will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate. We will review the latest annual report, sustainability report and supporting reporting documents such as impact reports that are accessible through the company's website.

This award recognises high quality reporting by overseas-headquartered companies on their impact and strategy related to the UK Leading reporters will be those that communicate their economic, social, environmental and tax impact in the UK. The shortlisted companies will stand out from their peers in reporting on their contribution and impact in the UK.

Our criteria are mapped against four key areas (economic, social, environmental and tax reporting), and we have provided some examples of sub-criteria included against each of these four themes below:

Overseas Investment Reporting

Scoring guidance: Scoring will be based on a set of criteria across the four key areas listed above. Each criteria will receive a rating (with a range of 0 up to 4 points) depending on the nature of the criteria. Higher points will be awarded for reporting that is UK-focussed, quantitative, and looks beyond outputs to outcomes and impacts.

Private Business

The assessment will review the latest publicly available annual report and accounts, and associated year end reporting documents, for the largest privately owned companies, up to the reporting period ended 31 March 2021.

This award recognises those companies that present a clear, concise and integrated narrative through their corporate reporting. A narrative that reflects on progress as well as plans for the future, balances shareholder and other key stakeholder needs, and takes an innovative approach to the way they communicate their key messages.

The particular focus of the award will be on those companies that demonstrate:

  • A clear articulation of company purpose and the alignment of that purpose with the vision, strategy and values of the company as well as the societal need it hopes to address;
  • A forward-looking orientation to the narrative including a description of the medium to long-term direction of the company in pursuit of the purpose and vision articulated by the board, supported by the short-term priorities, actions and resources needed for strategic success;
  • A clear articulation of the company’s objectives, strategic priorities and values in the context of the sphere in which it operates;
  • A description of the company’s business model including: its dependency on key resources and relationships across its value chain and how they’re managed; how it makes money; and what impact it has on these resources/relationships;
  • A discussion of the key trends shaping the markets in which the company operates as context to the strategic decisions made and what impact they’re having on its business model;
  • Recognising the new regulatory reporting requirements, a clear, specific, and dynamic discussion of how the company is governed and the principal risks, including how they are assessed, managed and mitigated - including an explanation of the company’s ESG considerations;
  • A clear discussion of the impact that the company’s ownership has on its operations and how it balances the needs of its owners with that of its other stakeholders, including the wider environment in which the business operates;
  • A recognition and discussion around the company’s key stakeholders - their material issues, impact on the strategy and business model, and the company’s response;
  • How a balanced discussion of progress, performance and impact to society is delivered- using a mix of strategic relevant financial and operational metrics; and
  • A consistent and compelling strategic narrative with explicit alignment between all of the key elements outlined above.
Private Business

Public Sector (in association with the National Audit Office)

The Public Sector award focuses on all entities which are consolidated into the Whole of Government Accounts (“WGA”) up to the reporting period ended 31 March 2021, which are signed off as audited prior to 30 June 2021. These entities are at the heart of public affairs and the provision of public services and effective reporting of the use of taxpayers’ monies is fundamental to our democracy in being able to hold bodies to account for what they do.

It has been a challenging year for Public Sector entities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to many reporting timetables being extended to recognise the challenges facing entities reporting in a COVID environment. We are aware this means not all entities’ annual reports and accounts will be signed off as audited prior to 30 June 2021. Instead, such entities will be considered for a separate category relating to examples of best practice reporting in FY20/21 in the Public Sector reporting workshop.

There is no need to self-nominate for this award. However, if you wish to highlight your entity please share it with us together with your reason as to why prior to 30 June 2021.

If you wish to highlight your entity as an example of best practice, please do share with us your audited annual report and accounts together with your reason(s) as to why prior to 30 September 2021 for consideration ahead of the Public Sector Reporting Workshop.

Underpinning our assessment of excellence in reporting in the Public Sector is the concept of innovation – entities who lead the way with a fresh approach to meeting the varied needs of their key stakeholders. Our award continues to give credit to those making real inroads in adopting these concepts and in driving forward fresh thinking and innovation. Transparent and insightful reporting is not necessarily about more information being included but about decluttering existing structures, taking a new and more effective approach to traditional disclosures.

Specific areas we focus on include:

  • A clear and balanced explanation of the impact (both positive and negative) of trends and factors shaping the entity’s current and future operating environment.
  • A description of the long-term strategic direction of the entity, supported by short-term priorities, actions and resources needed to keep it on track, with clear use of specific targets and resulting impact on society.
  • An insight into the entity’s business model and the key resources and relationships managed by the entity in order to achieve its strategic objectives.
  • A clear, honest and balanced analysis of the profile and dynamics of the principal risks the entity faces, including how these are managed and mitigated.
  • Clear and accessible disclosures of key financial measures that drive underlying performance.
  • Governance reporting that focuses on substance over form – balancing compliance with insight into the culture and values of the entity and how these drive its governance and "tone from the top".
  • That the reporting is understandable, consistent and accessible to stakeholders, including the general public.
Principles of a good annual report

Thematic awards for reporting on

Climate Change Reporting in the FTSE 350

This is the first year that this award will be made and will cover the FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021. There is no need to self-nominate.

The period reviewed will cover reports with year ends from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and we will review: annual reports, TCFD/ climate reports, corporate ESG/ sustainability reports (or micro-sites) and corporate responsibility websites.

This award aims to assess the depth and relevance of climate-related reporting offered throughout the publicly available information provided to stakeholders.

The focus of this award will be on companies that are reporting on the impact climate change and the transition to a low carbon society will have on their business, as well as the impact their business has on climate change. Assessment will use the TCFD recommendations and structure of reporting as a leading global framework, and an assessment of whether companies have demonstrated a clear Climate Strategy, and how they intend to deliver this over the short, medium and long term, with appropriate targets aligned with Net Zero and/or the Paris Agreement.

Scoring will be underpinned by four key themes:

Climate Change Reporting in the FTSE 350

Scoring for the Climate Change Award is underpinned by recommendations from the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure and WEF Climate Governance Principles.

Corporate Governance Reporting in the FTSE 350

The FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

The period reviewed will be 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and we will read the corporate governance report, other relevant parts of annual reports (including separate committee reports), and linked website content.

This award, like the others, sets a high bar and takes technical excellence as a given, with robust explanations for any departures from the Code. Governance reporting should be about activities and outcomes – how governance has been applied – not just process and procedure, and this will be a key differentiating factor for us.

We will also focus on how companies have responded to the changes introduced by the 2018 version of the UK Corporate Governance Code. Meaningful information on purpose, culture and diversity will be important here, and we will particularly be looking for good reporting of how, against the background of the COVID-19 crisis, boards are promoting the long-term success of companies and taking into account the interests of a range of stakeholders across society.

Corporate Governance Reporting key criteria themes

Cyber Security Reporting in the FTSE 350

The FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

Each report shall be assessed by how well it demonstrates security metrics. For each metric, it shall be assigned a maturity score, either:

  • 0 (not mentioned);
  • 1 (meets expectations); or
  • 2 (exceeds expectations).

The report will be given an aggregate score equal to the sum of each of these maturity scores. The top five reports will be shortlisted for the final stage of the process, which involves holistically analysing them to determine how well they communicate their message to their audience. The metrics discussed and examples are outlined below.

Cyber reporting key criteria themes

Remuneration Reporting in the FTSE 350

Companies in the FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

Reporting will be reviewed for financial years ending in the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. For this award, we shall review the remuneration report and other parts of the annual report or linked website content as relevant.

This year for the award we will assess the extent to which companies explain and justify the remuneration of executive directors in the context of corporate performance, longer-term company strategy and pay arrangements for the wider workforce.

Underpinning the award will be a focus on fairness: we’ll look for transparent disclosures which demonstrate how the remuneration of the executive directors is appropriate. Our criteria will also focus on how well companies explain the alignment of executive director remuneration with the experience of shareholders, employees and other stakeholders, particularly in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remuneration reporting: How the Remuneration committeee tells its story

Strategic Reporting in the FTSE 350

The FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

The companies reviewed will be those with year ends from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and we will review those companies’ strategic reports and consider how their strategic themes are then woven through the remainder of their annual report, corporate website and results announcements.

This award takes compliance as given and recognises those companies that present a clear, concise and integrated strategic narrative through their corporate reporting. A narrative that reflects on strategic progress to date as well as plans for the future, balances shareholder and other key stakeholder needs and takes an innovative approach to the way they communicate their key messages.

Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, the increased focus on ESG issues - including climate change and social inequality - and continued interest in how stakeholders have been factored into key strategic decisions, there will be a particular focus on how companies have provided a clear, succinct and integrated strategic narrative while balancing a focus on short-term actions and performance with an emphasis on the longer-term sustainability of the business model.

Strategic report criteria

Sustainability Reporting in the FTSE 350 and Public Interest Entities

The FTSE 350 and Public Interest Entities as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. There is no need to self-nominate.

The period reviewed will cover reports with year ends from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, and we will review corporate ESG or sustainability reports (or micro-sites), corporate responsibility websites as well as annual reports.

This award aims to assess the depth and relevance of broader purpose and impact reporting offered throughout the publicly available information provided to stakeholders. The particular focus of this award will be on those companies that demonstrate that their financial performance is connected with delivering a clear societal contribution and impact, that this is recognised in their purpose and delivered in a sustainable manner.

This will be assessed by focusing on organisations that clearly identify the key parts of society they impact, how sustainability is factored into the business model, how key risks and opportunities are identified, with balanced performance monitoring and effective targets set, how governance is effective and focused on material issues, and finally that there is evidence to support these features.

Key components to good practice reporting for purpose and impact

Tax Reporting in the FTSE 350

The FTSE 350 as at 31 March 2021 will automatically be reviewed. The period reviewed was 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. We reviewed the annual report and other disclosures such as statements made on a company's website, corporate responsibility reports, sustainability reports and standalone tax reports. There is no need to self-nominate.

The pace of change in the tax transparency landscape is accelerating and continues to be a focus for large businesses.Tax transparency is increasingly seen by businesses as a method of demonstrating their contribution to society, reflecting growing social and political concerns that some companies are not paying their fair share. Together with the guidance released by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Business Council (IBC), it is more important than ever for companies to be able to communicate their approach to tax.

There has been an increasing focus on ESG (environmental, social and governance) by analysts and investors. The debate over public country-by-country reporting and tax disclosure principles released by The B Team, GRI and IBC means that tax teams, corporate responsibility teams and the Board will have to align with the broader sustainability strategy.

The Building Public Tax Award recognises those companies that present their tax affairs in a clear and innovative way, while responding to stakeholder interest and the developments above. Our review focuses on disclosures around tax strategy; tax risk management and governance; tax performance; and total tax contribution.

Tax reporting award

Upskilling Reporting (all sectors plus self nomination)

Upskilling people around the world has never been more important. According to recent research, half of all employees will need reskilling by 2025 to remain employable. Wide-scale upskilling and reskilling will lead to greater economic growth and shared prosperity across geographies and sectors, boosting global GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030 and creating 5.3 million net new jobs.

For all these reasons, and to mitigate the risks of getting this wrong, the skills challenge is moving up the board agenda. Eyes are increasingly turning towards businesses to understand how they are responding to this crisis and how they will play their part in solving it.

The Upskilling Reporting Award will shine a light on those organisations who are leading the way and clearly articulating why and how they are upskilling their people and communities. Not only will we review what is said, but also the tone from leadership and how integrated plans are into the wider organisational strategy. Our goal is to identify the organisations which are driving the most innovative change, not simply those who are investing more capital.

All UK-based organisations are invited to self-nominate for this award, to guarantee entry into the review process. Applicants must state how they have demonstrated upskilling in their organisation in 1,000 words or less, with the opportunity to attach supporting evidence.

Apply now

We will also be undertaking a cross-sector scan of publicly available reports (any year end between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021), to identify organisations for consideration in the awards.

Find out more information on our criteria

Upskilling diagram

Contact us

Alan McGill

Alan McGill

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7711 915663

Julia Simmons

Julia Simmons

Marketing Executive, Client Relationship Programmes, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7702 698860

Samantha Kelley

Samantha Kelley

Marketing Manager, Client Relationship Programmes, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7595 849974

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