Good Practice In Annual Reporting February 2020

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Good practice inannual reportingFebruary 2020INTERACTIVE PDFFor full functionality on iPad view with Good ReaderNational Audit OfficeExternal Relations11910-001Examples of good practice from theBuilding Public Trust Awards

IntroductionGood practice inannual reportsIntroductionThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust AwardsEssential features of agood annual reportStrategyRisksOperationsGovernanceMeasures ofsuccessFinancialperformanceUnderstandableIn our latest interactive guide, we set out our good-practice principles for goodannual reporting and provide illustrative examples taken from organisations wethink are leading the way in this area.The majority of these examples come from the annual reports and accounts of the winners andshortlisted entries to PwC’s Building Public Trust Awards 2019. We have drawn other examplesfrom organisations we audit.The Building Public Trust Awards recognise trust and transparency in corporate reporting and covera range of sectors. The National Audit Office (NAO), with PwC, co-sponsors the award for Reportingin the Public Sector. The 2019 winner of the public sector award was Great Ormond Street Hospitalfor Children NHS Foundation Trust, with HM Revenue & Customs and the Crown Estate beinghighly commended.High-quality annual reports and accounts are fundamental to effective accountability – here’s whyAnnual Reports and Accounts are a key means by which an organisation ‘tells its story’. Done well,reporting in the public sector enables the public and Parliament to understand – with ease andconfidence – an organisation’s strategy and the risks it faces, how much taxpayers’ money hasbeen spent and on what, and what has been achieved as a result.Good reporting equips stakeholders with trusted information which they can use to holdorganisations to account. This is why high-quality annual reports and accounts are fundamentalto effective accountability.We have seen some improvements in reporting in the public sectorFollowing recent corporate failures, we are all aware of the criticism faced by the accountancyand audit profession, standard setters and regulators. The criticism includes, among other things,that annual reports and financial statements have become more difficult to follow because of theircomplexity. The public sector may have different priorities and motivations, but it is not immune tothese risks. Indeed, Parliamentarians have called for improvements to government’s performanceand accountability reporting in annual reports and accounts.More broadly, through our wider audit work at the NAO, we have seen the effort organisations haveput in to account transparently for significant, complex transactions under new financial reportingstandards. On the other hand, we feel organisations can still do more to produce fully integratedreports, where the annual report more closely complements and narrates the financial performanceand position reported in the financial statements. Stronger performers in this area tell us that earlyengagement and careful planning is vital. We, therefore, encourage organisations to engage early withinternal and external parties when considering the content and presentation of their annual report andaccounts, as this can help bridge the gap between the ‘two halves of the story’.We also urge public sector organisations to go further in their quest to present a balanced andobjective narrative of what they have achieved, together with the challenges they have faced alongthe way, and to do this in a manner which is engaging for stakeholders and users of public services.The organisations shortlisted for the Building Public Trust Awards 2019 public sector awardachieved this ambition.Good-practice principles for high-quality annual reportingIn this guide we set out four good-practice principles that we believe underpin good annualreporting. These principles are Accountability, Transparency and Accessibility, leading to a reportwhich is Understandable.Here, we aim to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-use good-practice guide, based on theseprinciples. We have hand-picked examples of good practice for each of the main elements thatform part of an annual report. Our examples range across the public, private and charity sectors.That is because the fundamentals of good reporting are the same irrespective of the sector. We havedrawn many of our examples from the annual reports and accounts of the winners and runners-up ofthe Building Public Trust Awards 2019.We hope that you will find this guide a source of inspiration as you consider what to include andhow to present your annual report and accounts this year. We look forward to continuing to workwith the bodies we audit, Parliament and our wider stakeholders, to support ongoing improvementsin public sector reporting.Our role as the auditor of central government and its arm’s-length bodies means that NAO auditteams review each central government body’s annual report and accounts every year – that is almost400 sets of accounts in total. This gives us a unique perspective on the quality of annual reportingright across the sector and how this is changing over time.If you would like further information about the guide, or any aspect of annual report andaccounts production and audit, please contact your usual NAO team, or get in touch viaBuilding.Public.Trust@nao.org.ukThis year, the Building Public Trust Awards 2019 judging panel – which I sit on – noted an improvementin public sector annual reporting among the stronger performers, including in overall clarity. We alsosaw greater transparency of organisational risk reporting, including better descriptions of the impactof risk on an organisation’s ability to deliver its strategy and meet its objectives.Kate MathersExecutive LeaderNational Audit OfficeFebruary 2020

The NAO and the Building Public Trust AwardsGood practice inannual reportsIntroductionThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust AwardsEssential features of agood annual reportWhat are the Building Public Trust Awards?The Building Public Trust Awards recognise trust and transparencyin corporate reporting.In concluding how each body performed against the four good-practice principles,we considered seven areas we would expect to see which are vital in portrayinga fair and balanced view of each body.14 awards presented.Click on the categories below – the following pages summarise the criteria weadopted in each of these areas and highlight examples of best practice drawnfrom those bodies considered as part of the Building Public Trust Awards.Established in 2002.One of the awards is co-sponsored by the NAO and is forReporting in the Public Sector.StrategyRisksOperationsGovernanceMeasures ofsuccessFinancialperformanceUnderstandableThe judging areasReporting in the Public SectorIn 2019, the award for Reporting in the Public Sector was won byGreat Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation TrustStrategyMeasures tandableGovernance71 public sector annual reports and accounts were reviewed byteams from the NAO and PwC.The judging panel assessed each annual report in a number ofareas. These represent the main elements we would expect tobe included in an annual report.The NAO’s involvement with the Building Public Trust Awards ispart of our wider commitment to helping raise the standards ofreporting by public bodies.If you would like to nominate your organisation for an award please contact us atBuilding.Public.Trust@nao.org.uk for further information.

Essential features of a good annual reportGood practice inannual reportsThe basis of a good annual report is the ability of organisations to tell their ‘corporate’ story in a waythat appeals to a variety of stakeholders and to really understand the influence and impact they canhave on their audience and wider society.The NAO has set out four key principles that can help bodies prepare high-quality annual reports.IntroductionAccountabilityTransparencyThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust Awards Good reporting: Good reporting: ‘tells the story’ of the organisation in a fair and balanced way; includes frank and honest analysis;Essential features of agood annual report d emonstrates compliance with relevantreporting requirements; does not avoid the challenges an organisation is facing;makes appropriate use of data; describes clear action points to take forward; andquantifies risks and performance measures; and i ncorporates non-financial reporting, such as climatechange targets. d emonstrates an understanding of the organisation’sactivities on the wider society.StrategyRisksOperationsGovernanceMeasures bilityUnderstandable Good reporting: Good reporting: uses plain English to explain difficult concepts; u ses infographics and diagrams to communicateimportant messages; and h as a clearly integrated structure to help usersnavigate it effectively.f ully integrates key financial statement trends withinthe narrative; includes concise summaries of key points; c onsiders how the organisation engages withkey stakeholders and meets their needs; and e xplores different ways that an organisation canengage and influence their stakeholders.

STRATEGYGood practice inannual reportsWhat did we look for? Clarity around purpose, strategic objectives and key programmes/projects Frank and honest view of progress against objectivesIntroduction Clear description of plans to implement prioritiesThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust AwardsEssential features of agood annual report Strategy clearly integrated with performance measures, risks and financial information123An organisation’s corporatestrategy is the focal point ofthe reportStrategic objectives are clearlyaligned with key risks andfuture priorities19018/Transparency about thematerial issues affecting thestrategic prioritiess forStrategyRisksOperationsGovernanceMeasures ofsuccess4ORTREP25nkings BaLloydp plcGrou2018untsAccoandportal lenges are explicitlyaddressed, not avoidedStrategy is integrated with thert statementsofinancialRep tslauAnn Accounand to 2019p2018Grouuntsnking and Accos BartLloyd al RepoAnnulacent p ersBrilliacustomourtatertn Es RepoCrow nualThe rated An 2018/19Integ countsAcand

We will improve children’s lives through research and innovation.STRATEGY1 We will harness digital technology to transform the care weprovide and the way we provide it.During the past two years we have embedded the strategythrough designing local, service-led strategies. We have updatedour business case and planning processes, and strengthenedour Personal Development Reviews (PDRs). We have developedinternal campaigns to share strategic insights across the Trust, andAn organisation’s corporate strategy is thefocal point of the reportHospital strategyhouseFull copyGood practice inannual reportsthrough a consultation process, involving staff from all professions– at all stages of their careers – as well as from our patients,families, members, governors and partners, collaborators, alliancesand networks. This process will run between May and November62019 and involve various workshops and sessions to collectfeedback that will be used to refine our vision and the strategicOrmondStreetHospitalChildren NHS Foundation Trustchoices and prioritiesGreatof our hospitalin thefuture.FollowingforformalBoard approval we will launch the strategy refresh to coincide with(GOSH) 2018-19, (page 13)Open House 2019 and International Day of the Child 2019.The childfirst and alwaysIntroductionThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust AwardsHelping children with complexhealth needs fulfil their potentialOverarching strategictheme throughout thereport based around the‘Strategy House’.Essential features of agood annual reportCAREPEOPLEWe will achievethe best possibleoutcomesthrough providingthe safest, mosteffective andefficient care.StrategyRisksRESEARCHWe will attractand retain theright peoplethrough creatinga culture thatenables us tolearn and thrive.TECHNOLOGYWe will transformcare and theway we provideit throughharnessingtechnology.1/ 5VOICEOperationsWe will use our voice as a trustedpartner to influence and improve care.GovernanceSPACESWe will create inspiring spaces with state-of-the-artequipment to enhance care delivery and learning.Measures ofsuccessINFORMATIONWe will provide timely, reliable and transparentinformation to underpin care and research.FinancialperformanceUnderstandableWe will improvechildren’slives throughresearch andinnovation.FUNDINGWe will secure and diversify funding so we cantreat all the children that need our care.Clearly illustrated,linked to its priorities,objectives and aysone teamAnnual Report and Accounts 2018 to 201913

STRATEGY2Strategic objectives are clearly aligned withkey risks and future prioritiesGood practice inannual reportsIntroductionThe NAO and the BuildingPublic Trust AwardsEssential features of agood annual reportStrategyRisksOperationsGovernanceMeasures y (Bazalgette Tunnel Limited) 2018-19,(pages 20 and 21)Our StrategyTideway has made significantprogress to deliver the ThamesTideway Tunnel in line with its vision,values and company objectives todeliver for all our key stakeholders.Looking ahead to 2019/20, theExecutive Team and Board have reviewedand developed targets and aspirationsfor the year. We do this by assessing ourperformance during the year includingstakeholder feedback, the externalenvironment and the phase of the project.We observed that the external environmenthad changed quite significantly,particularly relating to the political andsupply chain space, and the understandingof this helped shape our future priorities.Our review resulted in refinements toour long-term objectives and priorities.The notable change was the addition ofa priority to ‘be in a position to handbacksites or parts of sites on completion ofconstruction (including architecture andlandscaping) and worksite testing’.By the end of March 2020, we aimto be in a position that tunnelling will besubstantially complete in both West andCentral areas and three quarters of shaftexcavations will be complete. Building onthe lessons we have learnt so far andstaying true to our values, we will: retain our focus on safety and continueto work towards our ambition to safelydeliver the Thames Tideway Tunnel andin doing so reconnect London with theRiver Thames; maintain high-performing tunnelling andmarine operations, learning lessonsquickly and ensuring they are sharedacross the project; continue to drive all reasonable costefficiencies across the project and safelydeliver the best value for money schedule;Health, Safety & WellbeingSchedule, Cost & QualityCompany & eObjectiveWe are targeting zero fatalitiesor serious injuries, off or on-site.We will achieve this by setting newstandards for health, safety andwellbeing. This is the right thing todo for those involved, as well asimproving productivity and reducingthe chance of delays or stoppages.We want to deliver the Thames TidewayTunnel safely at the right quality andto best value. Finishing earlier wouldreduce cost, benefiting bill payers andinvestors, and deliver environmentalbenefits more quickly and reducedisruption to local residents.We want to create a supportiveenvironment for delivering the tunneland build a positive reputation withour stakeholders. Looking after ourneighbours and stakeholdersreduces the scope for delays, sowe can deliver the tunnel’s benefitsas soon as possible.A high-performing, motivatedand engaged workforce will deliverbetter value and help us recruitand retain people.We aim to deliver efficientand financial risk managemwhich minimises our costand supports our investmecredit rating.Key Long Term ActivitiesKey Long Term ActivitiesEnabling all our delivery partnersto safely deliver the project moreefficiently and at lower cost, andusing the Alliance to best effectKey Long Term ActivitiesA HSW programme which is recognisedas transformational in comparison toprevious projectsDelivering HSW the ‘RightWay’,in line with the delivery programme,verified by appropriate assuranceMaintaining our focus on delivering ahigh-quality, fit for purpose asset and itsintegration into the wider sewer networkProtect and promote the reputationof TidewayMaintain a focus on health & wellbeingto achieve relative parity with safetyDrive for an equivalent high levelof HSW performance in themarine environmentPriorities for 2019/20 Reinforce HSW performance inthe construction phase whichshows improvement in comparisonto previous projects Ensure the MWCs’ marineoperations (including othersafety critical operations) arein line with our requirementsPriorities for 2019/20 Working with the ProgrammeManager to deliver the best valuefor money schedule possible Be in a position to handback sitesor parts of sites on completion ofconstruction including architectureand landscaping and worksitetesting Develop our relationship withTWUL to support efficient deliveryand deliver to the joint plan forcommissioning and handover Seeking and implementing allappropriate opportunities toincrease efficiency Ensuring that the asset beingdelivered is of the right qualityRelevant Principal Risks:Relevant Principal Risks: maintain the current positivestakeholder environment Health, safety and wellbeing High impact, low probability events Programme delivery Supply chainfailure High impact, low probabilityevents Interfaces with ThamesWater infrastructure Regulatoryand political Brexit Denotes amendmentfrom 2018/19 to 2019/20To ensure continued good relations withstakeholders including the consentgranting bodiesAddress the needs and concernsof our neighbours develop a steady state operating modelfor the Post Acceptance period and atransition plan from 2020 onwards; and20 TIDEWAY ANNUAL REPORTVision, Legacy & Reputation Delivering on all our LegacyCommitments under the DCOPriority for 2019/20 Refine our stakeholder engagementprogramme in a structured andtargeted way to support efficientdelivery of tunnelling operationsand handoverKey Long Term ActivitiesReinforcing values and behavioursProviding training and development,and succession planningOffering competitive terms andconditions, benefits and incentives Maintaining our commitmentto diversityKey Long Term ActivitieMaintaining a low risk finanposition by preserving ourBaa1/BBB credit ratingsMaintaining appropriate levof liquidityOptimise our cost of financto increase our return to sh2/5Delivering systems, processesand tools to support an effectiveorganisationTo continue to build trust aconfidence with our stakehthrough high quality reportengagement and assurancPriority for 2019/20Priorities for 2019/20 Evolve the capabilities of theorganisation to support andencourage efficient delivery througha motivated and empowered team Support the organisationdeliver the best result forand shareholders Funding – opportunistic iacross formats Investment managementto focus on capital preseliquidity and seek to optimThe company’s strategicRelevant Principal Risks: High impact, low probability eventsobjectives clearly integrated ReputationRelevant Principal Risks:with the key risks and forward High impact, low probability eventslook to 2019-20 priorities. ReputationRelevant Principal Risks: Programme delivery Hilow probability events Crrating Inflation Regulatopolitical BrexitANNUAL REPOR

STRATEGYTransparency about the material issuesaffecting the strategic priorities3Good practice inannual reports1011Understanding and addressingthe issues which are most pertinentto the resilience of our businessis critical to our long-term success.OverviewOur Corporate Strategy establishesan approach to investing, developingand managing our real estate whichi

The Building Public Trust Awards recognise trust and transparency in corporate reporting and cover a range of sectors. The National Audit Office (NAO), with PwC, co-sponsors the award for Reporting in the Public Sector. The 2019 winner of the public sector award was Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, with HM Revenue & Customs and the Crown Estate being highly .

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