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    Excellence in Public Sector Reporting and the Election break

  • Posted on April 27, 2017 by

    Annual ReportsThe NAO Blog must take a break in the period before the General Election. Meanwhile, we would like to highlight our interactive guide to Good practice from the ‘Excellence in Reporting’ in the Public Sector Award, sponsored by the NAO and part of the wider PwC-sponsored Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards. Kate Mathers, one of our Executive Leaders, sits on the judging panel for the public sector awards. We set out below the criteria for which we looked. Our publication provides examples of good practice from the 50 reports we reviewed.

    People want annual reports that are:

    • Logical, clear and succinct
    • Balanced, showing progress against objectives
    • Transparent and helping to hold government to account
    • Detailed regarding future plans to implement priorities

    In judging nine categories, we looked for the following criteria.


    • Clarity around purpose, strategic objectives and key programmes/projects
    • Balanced view of progress against objectives
    • Details of future plans to implement priorities


    • Linkage between risks, strategic objectives and annual report narrative
    • Quantified risks
    • Discussion about how the dynamic of the risk profile has changed over time


    • Discussion of the different delivery models, the reasons for using these models and how they achieved value for money
    • Narrative around how business operations support wider parliamentary objectives
    • For significant contracted-out services discussion around how these contracts are awarded and how the entity manages the on-going contract
    • Consideration of capital investment and how it achieves value for money


    • Narrative clearly demonstrating the governance structure and tone at the top
    • Transparent information about how the Board works effectively to govern the organisation

    Measures of success

    • Quantified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) aligned to strategic objectives
    • Balanced assessment of goals achieved and performance against target

    Financial performance

    • An understandable and fair reflection of financial performance, consistent with the underlying financial statements
    • Discussion of actual performance against expected/budgeted performance

    People factors

    • Discussion and quantitative analysis of people factors in the organisation
    • Details of equal opportunities and diversity in the organisation

    External drivers

    • Consideration of the external drivers that influence and impact on current objectives and performance


    • Use of plain English, graphics and appropriate lay out to enable the user to understand and gauge the importance of the information presented
    • Appropriate use of acronyms with clear definitions

    Full details are available in Good practice from the ‘Excellence in Reporting’ in the Public Sector Award. See also our blog post on last year’s Great ideas for annual reports.


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