Independent assurance statement to Barclays management
The Barclays Citizenship Report 2011 (“the Report”) has been prepared by the management of Barclays, who are responsible for the collection and presentation of information reported. Our responsibility, in accordance with management’s instructions, is to provide a limited assurance engagement on the Report. We do not accept or assume any responsibility for any other purpose or to any other person or organisation. Any reliance any such third party may place on the Report is entirely at its own risk.
What we did to form our conclusions
Our assurance engagement has been planned and performed in accordance with ISAE30001 and to meet the requirements of a Type 2 assurance engagement as defined by AA1000AS (2008)2. The AA1000AS (2008) assurance principles of Inclusivity, Materiality and Responsiveness have been used as criteria against which to evaluate the Report.
To form our conclusions on the Report we undertook the steps outlined below:
- Interviewed a selection of executives and senior managers at Barclays headquarters in London to understand the current status of citizenship activities and progress made during the reporting period.
- Reviewed selected headquarters documents relating to social, ethical, environmental and health and safety aspects of Barclays performance, to understand progress made across the organisation and to test the coverage of topics within the Report.
- Reviewed Barclays approach to stakeholder engagement through interviews with employees at headquarters level, and reviewed selected associated documentation.
- Reviewed the processes in place in Retail and Business Banking (RBB) for the implementation of the citizenship agenda. This included interviews with senior executives and employees responsible for delivery of the agenda and a review of selected associated documentation.
- Reviewed data samples and processes relating to energy, CO2 and water to test whether they had been collected, consolidated centrally and reported appropriately.
- Reviewed Barclays processes for determining material issues to be included in the Report.
- Reviewed the coverage of material issues within the Report against the key issues raised in the stakeholder dialogues, material issues and areas of performance covered in external media reports and the environmental and social reports of Barclays peers, and the topics discussed in 2011 by the Board Citizenship Committee and the former Barclays Brand and Reputation Committee.
- Reviewed information or explanations about selected data, statements and assertions regarding Barclays citizenship performance.
Level of assurance
The extent of evidence gathering procedures for a ‘limited level’ of assurance is less than that of a ‘reasonable’ assurance engagement (such as a financial audit). A ‘limited level’ of assurance has been provided over the Report.
Limitations of our review
Our review of environmental data was limited to energy, CO2 and water.
On the basis of our review we provide the following conclusions on the Report in relation to each of the AA1000AS (2008) assurance principles, overall plausibility and the completeness and accuracy of selected environmental data. Our conclusions should be read in conjunction with the above section on ‘What we did to form our conclusions’.
Has Barclays been engaging with stakeholders across the business to develop its approach to citizenship?
- We are not aware of any key stakeholder groups that have been excluded from dialogue.
- We are not aware of any matters that would lead us to conclude that Barclays has not applied the inclusivity principle in developing its approach to citizenship.
Has Barclays provided a balanced representation of material issues concerning its citizenship performance?
- We are not aware of any material aspects of Barclays citizenship performance which have been excluded from the Report.
- Nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that Barclays management has not applied its processes for determining material issues to be included in the Report.
Has Barclays responded to stakeholder concerns?
- We are not aware of any matters that would lead us to conclude that Barclays has not applied the responsiveness principle in its response to material topics of interest to stakeholders or that any issues of stakeholder interest have been excluded from the Report.
Completeness and Accuracy
How plausible are the statements and claims within the Report?
- We are not aware of any inconsistencies in the assertions made with regards to performance and achievement.
How complete and accurate is the energy, water and CO2 data in the Report?
- With the exception of the limitations relating to water data identified in the Report, we are not aware of any material reporting units that have been excluded from the consolidated data.
- With the exception of the assumptions identified in the Report relating to the collection of energy data, we are not aware of any additional matters that would materially affect the accuracy of the data.
OBSERVATIONS ON PARTICULAR ASPECTS OF OUR ENGAGEMENT
Our observations and areas for improvement will be raised in a report to Barclays management. Selected observations are provided below. These observations do not affect our conclusions on the Report set out above.
- Barclays has achieved increased completeness of energy consumption data by cross-referencing reporting sites to a global property database. This has helped to identify which parts of the business were reporting actual consumption and where estimations were required. However, the proportion of estimations remains high in certain parts of the business and Barclays should continue its efforts to collect information for this and other environmental parameters.
- Barclays continues to engage with stakeholder groups as part of its approach to citizenship. It will be important for Barclays to plan regular stakeholder engagement activity to seek feedback on progress made with the plan and to help ensure that outcomes are delivering on Barclays citizenship objectives.
- Barclays Community Investment programme has been revised in 2011 to align more closely with the citizenship priorities. However, Barclays still faces challenges in obtaining complete employee participation data because electronic reporting of this information is only available in certain parts of the business. Barclays could consider extending this method of information gathering across the business to help capture more complete and consistent reporting of this data.
- Barclays has committed to work across all levels of the business to build employee understanding of the link between citizenship and commercial success. We saw evidence that the RBB Citizenship strategy has gained momentum in the business, with many senior staff now involved in its delivery. We understand that in the run-up to the launch of the new Group Citizenship Plan in May 2012, RBB is examining the alignment of its own strategy and goals with those of the Group. In future reporting Barclays will need to explain how alignment across the Group is helping to contribute to the 2015 citizenship commitments.
We have implemented measures to ensure that we are in compliance with the applicable independence rules as articulated by the IFAC Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Section 290: Independence - Other Assurance Engagements).
Our assurance team
Our assurance team has been drawn from our global climate change and sustainability services network, which undertakes similar engagements to this with a number of significant UK and international businesses.
Ernst & Young LLP
26 April 2012