Telling stories is important. Stories are how we share information. They are how we communicate with each other. They are how we get our message across. Universities have a compelling story to tell and it is more important now than ever before that they explain clearly to staff, students and society the importance of what they do.
Integrated Reporting (IR) helps organisations tell their stories better by providing a framework for talking about themselves in an engaging and insightful way. The Integrated Reporting <IR> framework offers an opportunity for universities to develop their annual reports from unremarkable repositories of financial information into engaging, enlightening, and even surprising tales of a university’s hopes, successes, failures, and values. An Integrated Report can find an audience beyond just regulators or governors, and become a useful tool for a wider range of stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of a university’s performance, plans, and prospects.
In the Spring of 2016 BUFDG began a project to understand how universities could adopt Integrated Reporting. It produced an abridged Integrated Reporting framework for HE, and assessed the annual reporting of six universities against the framework. The findings of the project were published in a project report in July 2016. The report is an excellent introduction to Integrated Reporting for Universities.
In the Spring of 2017 BUFDG started phase 2 of the IR project. This phase of the work was undertaken in partnership with the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). BUFDG and four universities joined the Integrated Reporting Network, and a Specialist Panel, convened by the IIRC, reviewed the universities’ 2015/16 annual reports and financial statements. The final project report summarised the findings of the panel’s reviews. The universities were all at different stages of their thinking about Integrated reporting, but the lessons learned will be of use to all universities, wherever they are on their journey.
The baton has now been passed to the Leadership Foundation (LFHE), which is building on BUFDG’s work and running a new IR project during 2017/18. The LFHE project will bring together university leaders from a range of backgrounds and professions to further develop the ideas and implementation of integrated reporting and thinking in HE, and how it can be used across institutions to enhance and communicate value. There’s more about the project on the LFHE website.
If you have any questions about Integrated Reporting in HE, contact Matt Sisson.
The Leadership Foundation in Higher Education – project on Integrated Thinking and Reporting
The IIRC Integrated Reporting Framework