The Section 172 Statement – How to get your organisation prepared

As of this year, companies are required to formally report on Section 172 Statement as a part of annual reporting, demonstrating that more than ever, there’s a clear demand for companies to align their overall strategies with interests of a diverse range of stakeholders, including most interestingly, employees and local communities. What it signifies is a more sustainable approach taken to business development and recognises the various entities involved in creating a long lasting, successful business. 

In this article we’re going to look at what the requirements are, who’s obligated to comply and how organisations can go about pulling together the content and implementing changes to support their statement. 

The Section 172 Statement

A director of a company must act in the way he considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the benefit of its members as a whole, and in doing so have regard (amongst matters) to:

  1. The likely consequences of any decision in the long term
  2. The interests of the company’s employees
  3. The need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others
  4. The impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment,
  5. The desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and
  6. The need to act fairly as between members of the company

Companies will now need to report on how the directors have carried out these duties from the periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019.

Who is required to comply?

Any company that is defined as large under the 2006 Act that meet two of the following criteria is required to publicly report on the statement.

  • £36 million or more turnover 
  • £18m or more balance sheet assets
  • 250 UK employees 

Small and medium sized companies that are not currently required to make their reports publicly available will be required to make their Section 172 Statement available as soon as reasonably practicable.  

A simple framework to address matters from the top down

The statement commands a general focus on company culture and sustainability of business strategies and also a level of understanding that there are multiple stakeholders across the business, outside of just traditional shareholders. 

Nailing your mission, vision and purpose

A great way to demonstrate director commitment across all the points is to nail down your company mission, vision and purpose and to use that as the guiding principle for your business strategy. 

Mission

With your mission you want to highlight a specific goal you want to achieve that’s central to your business aims. This can be a simple target you might want to reach like ‘ensure 1 million app downloads by 2025’. For smaller organisations this should be a goal that’s achievable in 3-5 years, larger organisations should look to create goals for a 10 year+ time frame. This should filter down to quarterly goals throughout the business to clearly demonstrate how you’re making decisions in the short term that impact your long term goals. 

Vision

Your vision should be what you want the world to ultimately look as a result of your business efforts. The Ikea vision is a really simple example; ‘Our vision is to create a better every-day life for many people’. Deciding on your vision is a great way to demonstrate on point D. It relates your business to what you want to achieve for the wider community and environment. 

Purpose

A purpose is what you’re doing on a daily basis and helps directors to clearly demonstrate point E. The purpose is how you drive new products and business decisions, for example, a purpose could be that a company develops all products and updates with the sole purpose of improving the financial lives of employees. This may seem an obvious step but documenting it helps embed it in the company culture. It can help to demonstrate how you’re maintaining a level high of standards throughout all that you do. 

Developing the interests of your employees

With Brexit, potential changes visa requirements and the workforce cliff all threatening to shrink the size of the modern workforce, this is an area that’s going to require a lot more focus for organisations, if not for the report but also for future success of their businesses. 

Here are some ways that you can implement changes that will genuinely help you to invest in the interests of your employees:

Give your staff more flexible working

Employees’ needs and wants are changing and to keep up with that employers need to offer more workplace flexibility and an area where you can have maximum impact is with employee pay. The outdated system of monthly pay hasn’t changed for decades and causes millions a year to turn to payday lenders. Employers are best placed to disrupt this cycle and have a real positive impact. Wagestream provides employers with a way to do this that has no impact on payroll or internal systems. 

Make initiatives applicable and available to all

It’s simple maths really, the more people in your organisation that can utilise the initiatives you implement, the more you are going to get out of them. A cycle to work scheme is worth having, however it’s only applicable to a small set of staff that are in cycling distance of the office. To compliment these types of employee benefits it’s good to have something in place that is consistently available to the entire workforce.

Wagestream is available 100% of the time to 100% of your employees. Take a look at how Wagestream works to increase engagement for your business.