Within an environment of significant resource constraints and competing needs, public bodies are faced with a set of unprecedented risks and challenges. More than ever, they need to take a holistic view of the issues they face to guide their decisions and actions in the short, medium and long term.
In demonstrating their commitment to good governance and sound public financial management, governments and other public bodies must effectively communicate their performance in key public services. Rising public and stakeholder expectations about how public money is spent have given rise to public bodies employing new techniques and tools to report on outputs and outcomes against their strategies. The principles of integrated thinking and reporting, as outlined in the International Integrated Reporting Council’s (IIRC) Integrated Reporting Framework, help to strengthen performance reporting and build upon other management and reporting frameworks.
As IIRC founder Paul Druckman explains: “Integrated reporting and the thinking that is part of it are leadership issues. This is where strategy, performance and the development and the communication of long-term value are best understood, aligned and led.”
In recognition of this performance gap in government reporting, CIPFA, a strong advocate of good public sector governance and public finance, has partnered with the IIRC to establish the Integrated Reporting Public Sector Pioneer Network (<IR>PSPN). The network shares leading practices in integrated thinking and reporting among public sector organisations. The PSPN’s goals include enhancing behaviours and decision-making practices in governments and other public bodies to optimise their use of resources while effectively informing stakeholders how well they are performing in creating value over the long term.
In 2016, CIPFA and the IIRC published Focusing on Value Creation in the Public Sector – Integrated Reporting to raise awareness about the principles and benefits of integrated thinking and reporting as well as its relevance to the public sector.
Members of the network have identified a need for practical “public sector specific” guidance to support the successful adoption of integrated thinking and reporting in their organisations. CIPFA, as part of the <IR>PSPN work plan, is designing a project – the Integrated Reporting Application Notes for Public Sector Project – which is aimed at producing practical guidance notes to help practitioners embed integrated thinking and reporting into their processes.
As part of the project, there will be a consultation to identify the key issues where professionals require practical guidance in order to adopt integrated thinking and reporting principles in a public sector context. The application notes will complement existing reporting frameworks, including government reporting frameworks and other requirements.
CIPFA is therefore seeking your views, ideas and comments on specific issues or areas in which application guidance is required in integrated thinking and reporting in the public sector. Respondents are encouraged to include any additional information they feel is relevant to this consultation.
The consultation is now open and members can feed back their views here