CIPR adds weight to OFR rescue lobby

The PR community, investors and other stakeholders will pressure the Government this week in a bid to salvage the Operating Financial Review.

The CIPR, Fortis Investments, the Investor Relations Society Policy Committee and the Co-operative Insurance Society are among those that have put their name to a letter sent to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alan Johnson.

CIPR head of PA Francis Ingham said the letter urged the DTI to back the OFR in the face of opposition from the Treasury. 'There is a groundswell of opinion telling the Chancellor he has been an idiot,' Ingham said.

It follows a government U-turn on the OFR, with legislators now seeking 'forward-looking narrative reporting by quoted companies' in the forthcoming Company Law Reform Bill.

In the letter, written by pressure group Sustainability UK, the organisations call on the Government to 're-affirm its commitment' to aspects of the original OFR – designed to ensure firms' accountability and comprehensive reporting.

These aspects include enabling investors to compare companies' prospects and performance more accurately; improving companies' reporting of long-term value and risk; and improving communication with stakeholders.

The group challenges the DTI's claim that a business review required by EU legislation sufficiently covers all the elements that would have been dealt with by OFR.

The letter calls instead for 'an enhanced business report', which would draw on examples from other countries and prepare UK firms for international standards on narrative or non-financial reporting.

Earlier in the year the group wrote to Johnson urging the DTI to clarify reporting obligations, after Chancellor Gordon Brown said the Government would scrap the OFR (PRWeek, 27January).

Consultation on the Company Law Reform Bill ends on 24 March.

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