About the FRC FRC Operational Policies

FRC Operational Policies

Board Diversity Policy

The FRC understands and values the benefits that diversity can bring to its Board. A diverse Board includes and make good use of differences in the skills, experience, background, race, gender and other characteristics of Directors. These skills and backgrounds collectively represented on the Board should reflect the diverse nature of the environment in which the FRC and its stakeholders operate and, improve its effectiveness through diversity of approach and thought.

The Board, supported by its Nominations Committee, annually reviews the composition of the Board and considers the balance of competencies to ensure alignment to the FRC’s mission and strategic priorities; the environment in which it operates; the characteristics, perspectives, independence and diversity of Board members; how the Board works together; and other factors relevant to its effectiveness.

New appointments are made pursuant to the nomination of an Independent Assessor and based on an objective selection criteria highlighting the specific skills and experience needed to ensure a rounded Board and the diversity benefits each candidate can bring to the overall Board composition.

Objectives

The Board will, following recommendations from its Nominations Committee, agree annually measurable objectives for achieving diversity on the Board and its Conduct and Codes & Standards Committees. At the date of adoption of this Policy, the Board’s objective is to improve gender diversity over a three-year period by ensuring that at least one third of the Board and the Committees mentioned above will be comprised of women by the end of 2019 and that each of the Board and the Committees mentioned above has at least one person of colour by 2021.

The Board also places high emphasis on ensuring the development of diversity in the senior management roles within the FRC and supports and oversees the FRC’s objective of ensuring that approximately half of senior roles continue to be held by female executives. This objective is monitored by the Board and built into its assessment of executive performance.

Whether searches for appointment to the Board, the Committees mentioned above, or to the FRC’s senior executive are conducted by the FRC or by external search firms, they will identify and present qualified people of colour to be considered for the relevant vacancy.

Monitoring and Reporting

The Nominations Committee will report annually, in the corporate governance section of the FRC’s Annual Report, on the process used in relation to Board appointments. Such report will include a summary of this Policy, the measurable objectives set for implementing the Policy and progress made towards achieving those objectives.

Any nominations for appointment to the Board, the Conduct Committee and the Codes & Standards Committee will include reporting on compliance with this Policy or will explain any departures from the Policy.

The Nominations Committee will review the Policy, including its effectiveness, annually and recommend any revisions to the Board for approval.

This policy has the full support of the Chairman and the Board.

Adopted on 9 March 2017 and revised 5 July 2017.

Anti-bribery Policy

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) requires all those who are associated with it to observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity. This requirement relates both to the regulatory activities undertaken by the FRC  and also any commercial activities in which the FRC is involved.

The FRC prohibits anyone acting on its behalf from:

  • Bribing another person. A bribe includes the offering, promising or giving of any financial or other type of advantage

  • Accepting a bribe. This includes requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting any financial, or another kind of advantage; and

  • Bribing a foreign public official 

  • Condoning the offering or acceptance of bribes.

The FRC will avoid doing business with others who do not accept our values and who may harm our reputation.

The FRC will maintain processes, procedures and records that limit the risk of direct or indirect bribery.

The FRC will promote awareness of this policy amongst its staff, those acting on its behalf and entities with which it has any commercial dealings.

The FRC will investigate all instances of alleged bribery, and will assist the police, and other authorities when appropriate, in any resultant prosecutions. In addition,  disciplinary action will be considered against individual members of staff.

The FRC will review this policy regularly and update it when necessary.

Approach to Impact Assessment

Our regulatory principles, published in our updated Regulatory Strategy, commit us to:

Target the use of our powers, taking a proactive, risk-based and proportionate approach, making effective use of Impact Assessments (IAs) and having regard to the impact of regulation on small enterprises.

The FRC follows three guiding principles in producing impact assessments:

  • The work that goes into the production of an impact assessment should be proportionate to the importance of the proposal that it covers.

  • Where a standard is being introduced as a direct response to legislation or regulation, or as part of an agreed policy commitment to adopt international standards of accounting or auditing, the impact assessment should explain the rationale for introducing the standard and should focus on any aspects of the proposed standard which augment the relevant legislation or augment or diverge from the relevant international standard.

  • Where appropriate, we are particularly alert to the impact of proposals on small businesses.

Our projects and activities fall into the following categories, and there are differences between the categories as to what is likely to constitute an appropriate impact assessments:

  • Influencing EU, international and UK Government proposals. We will encourage those bodies to prepare impact assessment, and we will contribute to those impact assessments.

  • Implementing EU, international or UK Government proposals. We will prepare an “implementation” impact assessment addressing the scope and timing of implementation and any elements which augment or diverge from the proposal which is being implemented (eg in relation to the implementation of IFRS).

  • Leading the UK debate on the response to an emerging risk/market development. We will consider the rationale for regulation and alternatives to regulation, the first step in the preparation of an initial impact assessment.

  • Implementing FRC new regulatory requirements. We will prepare an impact assessments based on the Better Regulation Executive guidelines.

  • Proposals to provide or update guidance on existing requirements (eg in updating guidance notes). We will produce an impact assessment based on an appropriate simplified approach.

  • Proposals relating to monitoring, enforcement and discipline. For policy proposals, we will prepare an impact assessment. For individual cases, action will be demonstrably risk-based (eg in relation to priority sectors identified by the FRRP or priority areas for inspection identified by the AIU).

  • Proposals which do not impose regulatory requirements. We will not produce an impact assessment.

FRC project owners will apply appropriate judgement in each case to ensure that the necessary elements are included. 

Consultation Responses Policy

The FRC’s policy is to publish on its website all responses to formal consultations issued by the FRC unless the respondent explicitly requests otherwise. A standard confidentiality statement in an e-mail message will not be regarded as a request for non-disclosure.  The FRC does not edit personal information (such as telephone numbers or postal or e-mail addresses) from submissions; therefore, only information that you wish to be published should be submitted.

The FRC aims to publish responses within 10 working days of receipt.

The FRC will publish a summary of the consultation responses, either as part of, or alongside, its final decision.

Data Protection Policy

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) collects and processes certain types of personal information as a necessary part of carrying out its responsibilities and administering its operations. Such information is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998.

The FRC collects, handles and uses personal information in accordance with the eight Principles of data protection set out in the Act. It maintains technical and other security arrangements to safeguard personal information and its website contains a statement on how it deals with such information collected through the site.

Such personal information is subject to certain rights of access by the individuals to whom it relates which entitle them to:

  • know what the information is

  • be informed for what purposes the information is being processed and to whom it may have been disclosed

  • the opportunity for incorrect information to be amended or erased.


Any such requests in respect of personal information held by the FRC should be addressed, in writing, to:

The Company Secretary
Financial Reporting Council
8th Floor, 125 London Wall
London
EC2Y 5AS


and should include details of the context in which you believe the FRC is holding the information you seek. This will help us identify it and respond to requests as quickly as possible.

The Data Protection Act includes exemptions from the right of access. The FRC will take these into account in considering requests and this may result in withholding all or part of the information requested.

The FRC may charge for meeting access requests. 

Disclaimer and Copyright

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is an independent, unified regulator that:

  • sets, monitors and enforces accounting and auditing standards;

  • oversees the regulatory activities of the professional accountancy bodies, and regulates audit; and

  • promotes high standards of corporate governance.

The terms on which you are entitled to access the FRC Website are set out below. Your access to the site or any part thereof will be deemed to constitute acceptance of these terms. These terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.

From time to time the FRC may modify these terms. You should therefore review these terms whenever accessing or using this site. The FRC may at any time alter the contents of the pages on the Website.

You must be satisfied that you may lawfully access this site. The FRC accepts no responsibility for unauthorised access or actions of the reader in respect of these matters.

Liability

The information contained on this site is for general guidance only. You should neither act, nor refrain from action, on the basis of any such information. You should take appropriate professional advice on your particular circumstances because the application of laws and regulations will vary depending on particular circumstances and because laws and regulations undergo frequent change.

Whilst the FRC endeavours to ensure that the information on this site is correct, the FRC makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, about the information provided through this Website (including any hypertext links), its accuracy or timeliness. The FRC shall not be liable for any damages (including, without limitation, damages for loss of business or loss of profits) arising directly or indirectly in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of or inability to use this site (or any hypertext links), or any information contained in it (or any hypertext links), or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this site or any such information.

Part of this site may contain material submitted to the FRC by third parties. Third parties are responsible for ensuring that material submitted for inclusion on this site complies with international and national law. The FRC will not be responsible for any error, omission or inaccuracy in the material and reserves the right to omit, suspend or change the position of any material submitted.

The FRC does not warrant that the site is compatible with your computer equipment or that the site is free of errors, viruses, worms or Trojan horses. The FRC shall not be liable for any damage you may suffer as a result of such destructive features.

Hyperlinks

The FRC accepts no responsibility for the content on any site to which a hypertext link from this site exists or for any loss or penalty which may be incurred as a result of any linking to any location through a linked site. The links are provided for information only and on an "as is" basis with no warranty, express or implied, for the information provided within them or the accuracy or source or right to access or use any information found at any other site accessed by means of this Website.

Copyright

Unless otherwise stated, the copyright and other intellectual property rights in all material on this site, including trade marks, logos, photographs and graphical images, are owned by the FRC. All moral rights and equivalent rights in the contents of this Website are hereby asserted.

You are permitted to print and download extracts from this site on the following basis:

  • use of documents and related graphics on this site is for information and non-commercial or personal use within your organisation only;

  • any copies of these pages printed or saved to disk or to any other storage medium may only be used for subsequent viewing purposes or to print extracts for personal use;

  • no further copies, modifications, use or distribution of the material shall be made without the FRC's prior written permission;

  • no documents or related graphics on this site are modified in any way;

  • no graphics on this site are used separately from accompanying text; and

  • all copies, however stored or reproduced, shall retain all copyright and other proprietary notices and this permission notice and disclaimer.

No part of this site may be reproduced or stored in any other Website or included in any public or private electronic retrieval system or service without the FRC's prior written permission. Copyright requests should be directed to Alison Chambers.

Any rights not expressly granted in these terms are reserved.

Service access

Whilst the FRC endeavours to ensure that this site is normally available 24 hours a day, the FRC will not be liable if for any reason the site is unavailable at any time or for any period.

Access to this site may be suspended temporarily and without notice in circumstances of system failure, maintenance or repair or for reasons beyond the control of the FRC.

Indemnification

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless each of the FRC, its employees, representatives and agents, against any claim, suit, action, or other proceeding brought against the FRC, its employees, representatives or agents, by a third party, to the extent that such a claim, suit, action or other proceeding brought against the FRC, its employees, representatives or agents is based on or arises in connection with (i) your use of, including any downloading from or uploading to, the site; (ii) any breach by you of these terms; (iii) a claim that any use of the site by you (aa) infringes any intellectual property rights of any third party, or any right of personality or publicity, or (bb) is libellous or defamatory, or otherwise results in injury or damage to any third party; (iv) any deletions, additions, insertions, or alterations to, or any unauthorised use of, the site by you; or (v) any misrepresentation or breach of representation or warranty made by you contained herein.

References in this section of these terms to your use of this site shall be deemed to include any use by a third party where such a third party accesses the site using your computer. You agree to pay the FRC, its employees, representatives and agents any and all costs, damages and expenses, including, but not limited to, reasonable professional fees (on a solicitor-client basis) awarded against any of them or otherwise incurred by any of them in connection with or arising from any such third-party claim, suit, action or proceeding attributable to any such third-party claim.

Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information

 
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) was passed on 30 November 2000.  The Act gives a general right of access to information held by public authorities, subject to the exemptions set out in the Act. It also imposes an obligation on public authorities to produce and maintain a Publication Scheme approved by the Information Commissioner. 
 
For the purposes of FOIA, the FRC is designated a public authority for only part of its functions, however from 2 December 2019 the FRC is choosing to voluntarily adopt full coverage under the Act. Further information on the FRC’s part-designation under law, under which we responded to requests until 1 December 2019 is available here.
 
This note is designed to help you make a request for information under FOIA. It is not a guide to the Act itself.
 
The FRC takes seriously its obligations under FOIA and is committed to transparency wherever possible. In some circumstances however, it is not possible to disclose all or any of the information sought by a requestor. Under the Act, public authorities are entitled to withhold information when an appropriate exemption can be applied. Examples of information which might be withheld from disclosure include non-public information about live or past investigations; commercially sensitive information relating to the FRC itself or to one of the bodies we regulate; and personal data about FRC staff members. The FRC will consider each request under the Act on its own merits and determine whether exemptions might apply to the information we hold. In some cases, it may be appropriate for the FRC to neither confirm nor deny whether we hold any information responsive to the request.
 
 
How To Apply For Information
 

  1. Check if we already publish the information you want on our website. 
  2. If you cannot find what you want you can send us an information request by submitting the online form, by email to FOIA@frc.org.uk, or by post:
 
Freedom of Information Act Requests
Financial Reporting Council
8th Floor
125 London Wall
London,
EC2Y 5AS
 
  1. Your request must be in writing and must include your name and an address.  
  2. Please be as specific as possible about the information you would like to receive. To help us with our searches, please provide us with any additional information you think might be helpful such as the subject matter and a time frame.
  3. In some cases, we may need to transfer all or part of your request to another body or contact a third party before deciding if we can release information to you (see the sections on Transferring requests and Consultation with third parties, below). Please make clear in your request if you wish to be notified before we take those steps.
  4. If, after having read this note, you require further advice on filling out the form or you are unable to submit a request in writing because of a disability, please contact us by telephone (020 7492 2300) and ask to speak to a member of the FOIA team to discuss alternative arrangements.
 
 
How We Will Handle Your Request
 
  1. Our FOIA team will acknowledge your request and may need to contact you to discuss it.  If so, we will use the contact details you have provided unless you have indicated otherwise.
  2. We have 20 working days following the date on which your request was received in accordance with the Act, in which to respond to your request.  The exceptions to this are where:
 
  • a qualified exemption applies and the public interest test needs to be considered; or
  • clarification is required; or
  • where, after initial consideration of your request, a fee is requested. 
 
Where a clarification or a fee is required, the 20 working days will begin following the date on which the clarification or the fee is received. Where the public interest test applies, the timescale is extended by a “reasonable period”.  We will tell you within the 20-day period which exemption(s) we believe apply to the information requested and give you our estimate of the date by which we expect to reach a decision regarding the application of this exemption.
 
  1. Our response will explain if:
 
  • We have the information you have asked for and can provide you with a copy of it; or
  • We have the information, but we cannot give it to you because we are exempt from doing so - in which case we will explain why; or
  • We are unable to confirm or deny if we have the information - in which case we will explain why.
 
 

Fees

 
We may charge you a fee for responding to your request in accordance with The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. Guidance on the application of these regulations is provided by the Ministry of Justice.
 
We will calculate any fee charged by looking at the costs directly and reasonably incurred in locating the information you have asked for and giving it to you.  We will then send you a Fees Notice which you will have to pay within three months of your request – you will not receive information until you have paid the costs in the fees notice.
 
If the estimated cost of providing the information would be above the appropriate limit set by the government (currently £450, or 18 hours working time) then we will not be under a duty to provide the information.  However, we will inform you if the limit will be exceeded and we will try to let you know what can be provided within the limit.  We will also consider whether it is reasonable to answer your request and charge an appropriate fee.
 
If the cost of providing the information is £450 or less, the FRC may charge for photocopying, printing and postage costs.
 
 

Transferring requests

 
If you have requested information which we believe is held by another public authority, it may be appropriate for you to re-apply to the public authority concerned.  Alternatively, we may transfer your request to another public authority.  Before doing so, we will check that the other public authority holds the information requested.  If you wish to be notified before the FRC transfers your request to another public authority, you should state this in your application.
 
 

Consultation with third parties

 
We may notify third parties if a request for information about them is made. We may also need to consult third parties (including another public authority) in order to reach a decision on whether we can release information that you have requested.  If you wish to be notified before the FRC consults a third party about your request, you should state this in your application.
 
 

Exemptions

 
There are a number of exemptions under the Act and we may not be able to give you the information you have asked for. Detailed guidance on exemptions and how they may be applied can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.
 
 

The Public Interest Test

 
Some of the exemptions in the Act require us to undertake a public interest test.  This means that even if the information is exempt, we must consider if there is a greater public interest in releasing the information to you.  If we decide the public interest is better served by keeping the information exempt, then we will explain our reasons for this decision.
 
Below are some examples of exemptions that we think are most relevant to the kind of information we hold.
 
Absolute exemptions - the public interest test does not apply
 
  • Information accessible by other means
  • Personal information
  • Information provided in confidence
 
Non-Absolute exemptions – the public interest test applies
 
  • Information intended for future publication
  • Law enforcement
  • Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Commercial interests
 
 
Internal review:
 
If you are not satisfied with a decision to provide or withhold information in response to your request or decision to levy a fee, you can request an Internal Review of that decision.
 
Please send your request for an internal review to the FOIA team at foia@frc.org.uk or, in writing to:
 
Freedom of Information Act Requests
Financial Reporting Council
8th Floor
125 London Wall
London,
EC2Y 5AS
 
We aim to handle all internal reviews in 20 working days. Please see our Internal Review Process for further details.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you also have a right of appeal to the ICO.
 
 
Disclosure Log
All FOIA requests made to the FRC since April 2008, are recorded in our disclosure log (PDF).
 
Specific details of information provided in response to a Freedom of Information Act request may be requested from us at FOIA@frc.org.uk
 
 
Copyright statement
 
Unless otherwise stated, we own the copyright and any other rights in all material in this scheme. The FRC information may be reproduced in accordance with The Copyright Act 1988 and within Copyright Licensing Agency guidelines. Where information is reproduced, it must be reproduced accurately, not used in a misleading context and an appropriate acknowledgement must be inserted.
 
Permission to reproduce material does not extend to any material accessed through the Scheme that is in the copyright of third parties. You must obtain permission to reproduce such information from the copyright holder concerned.
 
Information made available under this Scheme must not be reproduced, copied or otherwise used for any commercial purposes.
 
Publications which can be accessed by the FRC website may be printed and downloaded on the conditions set out in the Copyright statement on the FRC website.
 
Read the full text of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 here (Office of Public Sector Information website).
 
Find out more from the regulator here (the Information Commissioner's Office website)
Market Sensitive Information

Introduction and Objectives

This document sets out the principles, policies and procedures by which the FRC aims to
protect market sensitive information (MSI) and guide our staff on how they should handle
any information they receive or generate which they suspect may amount to MSI. The
policy’ objectives are

  • To help staff identify MSI and recognise that MSI triggers a significant publication risk (both by inadvertent leaking or planned publication);

  • For staff to take active steps to minimise this risk by applying additional controls to the MSI as well as the FRC’s standard confidentiality, information security and record keeping policies;

  • To ensure that if the FRC deliberately releases MSI through a planned publication, we release it to the market simultaneously and in an appropriate, factual and evidence-based manner;

  • To reduce the risk that inaccurate or sensationalist press reporting and ill-founded speculation could convert non-MSI information released by the FRC into MSI.

Principles

The FRC (we) will apply the following Principles of Good Practice:

  • Policies & procedures: We will maintain and operate internal policies & procedures for the use and control of MSI, which will recognise the responsibility to control access to MSI and aim to reduce the risk of its inadvertent disclosure or misuse.

  • Awareness and training: we will take appropriate measures, including training, to assist our staff in understanding the importance of keeping information appropriately protected and the implications of improper disclosure of MSI (including criminal and civil liability which may arise). We will aim to ensure that our policies & procedures are capable of being readily understood by all of our staff.

  • Need to know and other information controls: we will take reasonable steps to limit the number of staff who can access MSI received or generated by the FRC.

  • Passing market sensitive information internally and externally: we will take reasonable care that where MSI is received or generated by staff and/or provided to a third party the staff member and the third party is aware of their obligations in relation to the use and control of the information.

  • Information technology security: We will give appropriate consideration to the security of and access to MSI on IT systems including the implementation of controls to limit access.

Responsibility

  • The Executive Committee will be responsible for maintaining our MSI policy and internal working procedures.

  • Internal working procedures will be monitored by the Governance and Legal Team who will report at least annually to the Executive Committee.

  • Human Resources and Learning and Development will be responsible for training staff, with the assistance of the Governance and Legal Team.

  • Policies and procedures will be reviewed annually.

December 2016