Reporting on Sustainability

Measuring, monitoring and reporting on sustainability through the annual report supports the assurance process for meeting legal, reputational and policy requirements.

Annual Sustainability Reporting is required from CCGs and Trusts through the Department of Health Group Accounting Manual (DH GAM) and by the Foundation Trust Annual Reporting Manual (FT ARM); and from Arm’s Length Bodies through the Greening Government Commitments. Along with regularly updated Sustainable Development Management Plan, annual reporting on sustainability is expected by the NHS Standard Contract (Service Condition 18).

In order to help with this process the SDU has helped developed a standard template specifically tailored for NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and CCGs.  The template is currently being reviewed and an updated version will be available soon.

The template is in line with the data requirements in government's HM Treasury Guidance.

2017 key actions and timetable

  • Annual reporting guidance for 2016/17 – Guidance and the template last updated February 2017 (new update due December 2017).
  • If you would like to have your say in the future development or have any comments on the template please contact the SDU.     
  • For most organisations, sustainability reports will need to be prepared before 22 April 2017 for inclusion in the annual report. This may vary slightly from organisation to organisation.
  • Please send completed excel templates to the SDU. Send to by 31 May 2017. 

Background to sustainability reporting and useful links

The NHS Standard Contract and DH guidance includes a requirement for providers and CCGs to demonstrate and report on progress on adaptation and mitigation. Sustainability reporting as part of the annual report fulfils this requirement. Timescales:

  • The Annual Report is required by the auditors in mid-April
  • Figures should be finalised in the report by mid-May
  • Please send the Sustainability Report to the SDU by the 31 May

Due to the Annual Reporting cycle deadlines, set by government, figures may need to be estimated for the full year in line with financial reporting standards used for the Annual Report.

HM Treasury provides guidance, incorporating minimum reporting requirements and further voluntary reporting.

Environmental impacts are reported in line with Defra reporting guidance - measuring and reporting environmental impacts: guidance for businesses.

The framework is to be included in the annual reports of NHS organisations, making the links between financial and environmental sustainability more transparent to patients and other stakeholders while also highlighting the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

We have prepared some guidance to help organisations complete their annual report sustainability entries and may prove useful to non NHS organisations as well.

The SDU has also reviewed the quality of sustainability reporting in Annual Reports.  If you would like to improve your Sustainability Reporting have a look at some of the best practice we identified - see best practice download below.

We have also produced a map showing the results at a regional level (below).

For further questions please contact the SDU.