Risk Management and Internal Control

The principle risks and uncertainties that are currently judged to have the most significant impact on the Group's long-term performance are set out in a separate section of the Strategic Report on Internal Control and Risk Management in the Annual Reports & Accounts 2020.

The Committee is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of the Group’s system of internal control. The system of internal control is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and can only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss. The Group has the necessary procedures in place to ensure that there is an ongoing process for identifying, evaluating and managing the principal risks to the Group. These procedures are in line with the Financial Reporting Council’s guidance.

The Board has established a clear organisational structure with defined authority levels. The day-to-day running of the Group's business is delegated to the Executive Directors of the Group who are supported by the heads of each business Sector and functional heads of the Group.

Key financial and operational measures relating to revenue, cash and receivables are reported on a weekly basis. Detailed management accounts and key performance indicators are prepared monthly using a robust proprietary reporting system to collect and analyse financial data in a consistent format. Monthly results are measured against both budget and half year reforecasts which have been approved and reviewed by the Board. All capital expenditure above predefined amounts must be supported by a paper prepared by management.

All financial data is taken directly from the trial balance of each business held in their local ERP systems and reanalysed and formatted in a separate Group management reporting system, operated by the Group Finance department. There is no rekeying of financial data by the Group businesses to report monthly financial results. The Group finance department continues to develop the functionality of this management reporting system to provide greater insights into the activities of the Group’s businesses, both financial and operational. The Group’s internal auditor regularly audits the base data at each business to ensure it is properly reported through to the Group management reporting system.

As part of the year end close process each business is required to complete a self-assessment that evaluates the financial control environment in their business, which is designed to identify weaknesses in controls. These assessment additionally included the impact of Covid-19 on financial controls. These assessments are critically reviewed by the Group Internal Audit Director and a summary for each business is prepared for the Audit Committee. In addition, senior management of each business are required to confirm their adherence with Group accounting policies, processes and systems of internal control by means of a representation letter.