ARCHIVE: Key strategic and planning documents
- Who does the guidance apply to?
- Overview of guidance
- Mandatory practice
- Management Statement and Financial Memorandum
- Corporate plan
- Related pages
- Useful links
This guidance applies specifically to executive NDPBs, but may be used as good practice by public corporations or any other type of public body, and adapted as appropriate.
This guidance describes the two key documents required to create an executive NDPB and outlines the purpose of each document.
In creating a new body, you need two key documents, a Framework Document (previously a Management Statement and Financial Memorandum), and a Corporate Plan. Executive NDPBs must have these documents, but any type of public body should consider them as good practice and adapted as appropriate.
The Treasury guidance "Managing Public Money" includes a model Framework Document. You should follow this model in all cases, but you can adapt it to meet individual circumstances. The Delivery Relationship Team can provide advice and guidance about any significant divergences from the draft Framework Document. Where this happens you should also seek advice and agreement from Internal Audit Division (IAD) and, in some cases, from Treasury as well.
The Framework Document covers the whole of the relationship between Defra and the body setting out the management, operational, financial and accountability arrangements between the two parties. It is drawn up by the sponsoring department in full consultation with the public body.
It aims to ensure that the body operates with the right level of efficiency, flexibility and delegation, in order to be fully accountable to Parliament.
Framework Documents, like the previous Management Statements and Financial Memorandums, should be reviewed on a regular basis. You should include arrangements for this in the Framework Document itself, and they should already be included in any current Management Statements and Financial Memoranda.
There is considerable merit in drafting a the Framework Document at an early stage; this sets the direction and can be referred back to when trying to resolve problems if they occur at a later date. You can discuss a draft Framework Documentwith the shadow body before the body itself comes into existence. The Framework Document can also help set the parameters for the appointment of board members. If reviewed properly by both parties, the draft Framework Document statement should be a formality to agree at a later date.
The Framework Document sets out the responsibilities of the public body's Accounting Officer (normally the Chief Executive – see guidance on key staff and accounting Officer appointment and responsibilities) and distinguishes his / her role from that of the Department's Accounting Officer.
The Framework Document will provide the overarching financial framework for the relationship but it is good practice for the more detailed arrangements to be included in an annex to the document. The financial arrangements should complement the management arrangements. The financial arrangements in the Framework Document should leave the public body with the maximum operational flexibility consistent with full accountability to Parliament.
The second key document is the corporate plan. The corporate plan is essential for managing an executive NDPB effectively, and also applies to public corporations and any other type of public body. It is the focus of Defra's operational relationship with a public body. The corporate plan provides:
- a focus for setting strategic objectives
- a basis for setting targets and a means of allocating resources
- a means of reviewing performance
- a mechanism through which the body may bid for additional resources or set the rates for charges or levies
- a basis for budgeting and managing resources.
The shadow body or public body, with the assistance of sponsors, should develop an interim corporate plan in time for Vesting day. It will then be endorsed or altered by the body's Chief Executive and Board, once the body is in operation.
When preparing corporate plans, you should consult ministers at an early stage on key strategic options. Sponsors should also consult with IAD on draft corporate plans.
IAD have developed the following documents to assist a public body or sponsor produce a corporate plan:
Public bodies that start up mid-year will need interim arrangements before moving onto a regular timetable. New public bodies should have a strategic plan setting out their broad strategy, including aims and objectives, backed up by an interim corporate plan for the current and, in some cases, impending financial year. You will also need to agree an interim budget. Larger and more complex public bodies may take two to three years to develop their strategies fully across the whole range of their functions. Corporate plans normally cover three to five years and are reviewed annually.
- Management Statement and Financial Memorandum
- Accounting Officer appointment and responsibilities
- Key staff
- Shadow body
If you require additional information on planning and management issues, and do not have access to the Defra intranet, please contact the Delivery Relationship Team.
Page last modified: 03 December 2008
Page published: 8 May 2006