Awards 2007: Annual Report & Accounts – Public & Voluntary

AA Awards

Sponsored by Community Foundation Network

Winner: Learning & Skills Council

This year, the Learning and Skills Council takes top honours in this hotly
fought category for a report which expertly reveals the department’s work
funding high-quality education and training.It clearly portrays the difficult
challenge of raising skills to world-class standards for people above the age of
16, with a budget for 2006/07 of £10.7bn.

During the past 12 months, the LSC helped deliver skills and training to a
record 1,759,000 individuals. The targets for the number of adults improving
their basic skills and starting apprenticeships have also been exceeded.

In particular, the government’s target of 175,000 young people starting
apprenticeships was beaten, with the number of young people completing them
increasing every year since 2001 Ð from 24% to 60%.

This public sector body’s annual report shows it is, in fact, making clear
and demonstrable progress in continuing to have the greatest impact on skills
and learning. The report communicates key information in the most effective way
possible with a themed outlay that conveys information clearly and consistently,
while maintaining a high standard of transparency and accessibility for its

The report was certainly not short on explaining the detail of its
expenditure, a vital responsibility of a public sector body. It provided, for
example, a detailed breakdown of how the allocated £10.7bn was spent, nationally
and regionally. It also made crystal clear the organisation’s targets and
achievements. And it did not fail to fully convey how management approached
risk, financial controls and potential threats.

One of the key accomplishments worth noting was the reduction of the total
workforce by 25% without staff undergoing any compulsory redundancies, which led
to large cost savings. The report also takes the bold approach of describing its
work by way of three case studies of the learner, employer and partner.

The LSC’s report was awarded the Plain English Campaign’s Crystal mark, in
recognition of clearly written and designed documentation, but its quality has
now won the Accountancy Age Award for Public Sector Annual Report of the Year.

The judges also commended the report for its unique inclusion of Brail.

‘The size of this report was just right and the key performance indicators
were crystal clear. The inclusion of Brail, printing on recycled paper and
plotting achievements on a timeline were clear signs that this organisation is
using some original thinking,’ the judges said.

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