Sustainability reporting for public bodies
Sustainability reporting for public bodies

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sustainability reporting for public bodies
  • UK government sustainable development strategy
  • Public sector annual reports—sustainability reporting
  • Financial Reporting Manual ('FReM')
  • HMT Guidance for public sector annual reports
  • Public Expenditure System’s (‘PES’) guidance on the preparation of annual reports
  • Exemptions under FReM
  • Other disclosure commitments by the UK government
  • Climate Change Act 2008
  • Local authorities
  • More...

UK government sustainable development strategy

In 2011, the UK government published its vision on mainstreaming sustainable development. In 2013, Defra delivered a progress report on its vision and in 2015, the National Audit Office published its review of the quality of sustainability reporting by central government departments in the UK in 2013-2014.

The UK government, as part of its sustainable development policy, encourages companies and public bodies to disclose their sustainability and environmental performance via their annual reports and accounts.

Lawyers and in-house counsel should be aware of:

  1. the current mandatory minimum reporting requirements for public bodies and organisations, to ensure that the companies or public bodies that they are advising are complying with best practice and the minimum requirements set out in legislation

  2. the circumstances when public bodies are exempt from producing sustainability reports

  3. new mandatory corporate reporting requirements that are in place from 1st October 2013. Non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) that are incorporated as companies must also comply with the Companies Act 2006

Public sector annual reports—sustainability reporting

Financial Reporting Manual ('FReM')

FReM is the technical accounting guide that complements guidance on the handling of public funds published separately by the relevant authorities. The most recent version of FReM is for the 2013-2014 period.

Mandatory sustainability reporting requirements outlined in HM Treasury Guidance (see below) are applicable to all central government bodies that produce annual reports and accounts in

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