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Leadership Foundation announces Integrated Thinking & Reporting project for higher education.

Posted 13 September, 2017

With funding from Hefce, Hefcw and Northern Ireland, the Leadership Foundation will be working during the academic year 2017-18 to investigate how this emerging methodology to develop integrated thinking and integrated reporting can be applied in higher education, as it has in many other sectors of the economy and across the world.

Increasing complexity in the higher education landscape can lead to more opportunity and potentially more constraints on resources. The use of recognised tools and frameworks could help leaders in higher education demonstrate effective resource allocation, consumption, accountability and value creation.

Demands for transparency of university operations are growing and organisations need to explain to all stakeholders how they create value in the short, medium and long term. Changing how a university operates is a complex process; Integrated Thinking may help those charged with making those decisions to understand a wide range of risks in the context of value creation.

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) supports this project and the higher education’s professional sector body on finance, BUFDG, will work with the Leadership Foundation to provide advice and support throughout the project. The Leadership Foundation will also consult widely on the project with universities, the sector’s professional bodies, students and governors.

Universities will be invited to be part of the project from September 2017 to July 2018. Selection of institutions will be based on a keen interest in the Integrated Reporting approach, in re-appraising value concepts in relation to stakeholder relations and assessing how integrated thinking approaches could benefit strategic planning. The Integrated Thinking & Reporting project will be predominantly participant led, in that universities involved will input into the agenda and programme of work, based on the guiding principles of the Integrated Reporting Framework set out by the IIRC.

The Leadership Foundation sees this project as adding to the recent activity undertaken by BUFDG with the IIRC. The project offers university executive teams an opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the benefits of integrated thinking and integrated reporting and the chance to explore concepts of value and value creation. This is highly topical as the Higher Education and Research Act comes into force and student fees are under scrutiny.

Phil McNaull, Chairman of BUFDG said: “BUFDG is delighted that the Leadership Foundation will build on the work we have been doing for the past 18 months. Integrated Reporting is not just a finance issue and we encourage leadership teams across all universities to engage with the project. The benefits will be considerable, not least from the opportunities that will emerge to tell a better story of how universities create and sustain value for society.”

The Integrated Thinking and Reporting project is anticipated to tackle broad themes on the integrated thinking and integrated reporting journey, such as:

  • Articulation of the business model and value creation model to underpin performance management and business development
  • Accountability and stewardship for financial capital, intellectual capital, human capital, relationship capital, natural capital and manufactured capital.
  • Value creation over different time horizons promoting a long term, sustainable approach to strategic decision making
  • The nature and quality of stakeholder relationships and how they can create or destroy value.
  • Stakeholder perception of value and integrated reporting – particularly that of governors and students.

More information about the project, what we will be doing, the benefits, and how to participate are available here: