Acas calls for common approach to measuring human capital

Conciliation
service Acas has called for ‘common approaches’ on human capital reporting to
be developed as a vital step in evaluating the contribution that a company’s
workforce can make to overall corporate performance.

The
DTI’s consultation on draft regulations for Operating and Financial Reviews
(OFRs) close today and Acas said that in the absence of common approaches,
there is a the danger that human capital reporting will not be taken seriously
by company stakeholders.

An
OFR is the directors’ overview of the company and is designed to give
shareholders key information on a company’s objectives, strategy, past
performance and future prospects.

The
Government is proposing that, effective for accounting periods beginning on or
after 1 January 2005, all quoted companies (around 1,290 organisations) will be
required to prepare a statutory OFR that covers information on the company’s
policy towards its employees, customers and suppliers as well as its impact on
the environment, society and the wider community.

Commenting
on the draft regulations, Rita Donaghy, chair of Acas, said: "Acas
appreciates that HCM [human capital management] is still in its infancy in this
country and understands why the Accounting for People Taskforce felt unable to
recommend a prescriptive approach to human capital reporting.

"It
does, however, stand ready to take further the development work that is now
needed to produce guidance for companies to help them comply with the new
mandatory OFR requirement," she said.

"Many
companies would welcome the clarity and support that such guidance could
provide. This would reduce the significant investment involved in setting up
individual arrangements and facilitate the pooling of the already existing body
of knowledge that companies at the leading edge of HCM possess," she
added.

By Mike Berry

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