3. Accountability

Although no system of internal controls can provide absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss, the Group’s system is designed to provide the Directors with reasonable assurance that, should any problems occur, these are identified on a timely basis and dealt with appropriately.

Internal control

Confirmation that the Board has performed an assessment of the risk management and internal control systems of the Group, as required by the Code provision C.2.3, is contained in Managing Risk.

Whistleblowing hotline

The Board has established a confidential telephone service, operated by an independent external organisation, which may be used by all staff to report any issues of concern relating to dishonesty or malpractice within the Group. All issues reported are investigated by senior management and Group Internal Audit as appropriate.

Information and communication

Each reporting segment prepares monthly management accounts with a comparison against their business plan and prior year, with review by management of variance from targeted performance levels. These commentaries are consolidated and submitted to the Board. Year to date actuals are used to guide forecasts, which are updated regularly and communicated to the Board.

Planning

Each reporting segment prepares a three year business plan on an annual basis. This is presented to and approved by the Board. Performance against these plans is reviewed monthly. The Directors outline their assessment of the Group’s viability within the annual report.

Assurance

A description of the work of the Audit and Risk Committee is given on the Audit and Risk committee page.  Both the external auditor and Head of Internal Audit report directly to the Committee.