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IPSASB proposals on reporting service performance information

  • IPSASB (International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board) (mid gray) Image

23 Dec 2013

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) has published an exposure draft of a Recommended Practice Guideline (RPG) that would provide guidance on the reporting of service performance information. The draft RPG is designed to allow public sector entities to be held accountable through the provision of high quality service performance information, by providing guidance on how such information should be presented, and its recommended characteristics.

The exposure draft, ED 54 Reporting Service Performance Information, follows an earlier consultation paper released in 2011 and responds to the perceived need for a principles-based and consistent framework for service performance information that focuses on user needs. The principles in ED 54 align with the IPSASB's view that public sector financial reporting has a greater scope than financial statements alone, and are consistent with the IPSASB Conceptual Framework . The Basis for Conclusions on the exposure draft expresses this in this way:

The Conceptual Framework notes that the primary function of governments and most public sector entities is to provide services to constituents. Consequently, their financial results need to be assessed in the context of the achievement of service delivery objectives. Reporting non-financial as well as financial information about service delivery activities, achievements and/or outcomes during the reporting period is necessary for a government or other public sector entity to discharge its obligation to be accountable―that is, to account for, and justify the use of, the resources raised from, or on behalf of, constituents. Decisions that donors make about the allocation of resources to particular entities and programs are also made, at least in part, in response to information about service delivery achievements during the reporting period, and future service delivery objectives.

The proposed RPG recommends that entities define service performance objectives that describe the planned result(s) that an entity is aiming to achieve, expressed in terms of inputs, outputs, outcomes, efficiency, or effectiveness. Objectives depend on the nature of the entity and might include for example impacts on society such as educational achievements, poverty and crime levels, and health outcomes in general or of particular groups within society - the draft RPG provides the following specific example of an objective: "To increase the percentage of infants that have received a vaccination for measles from 65% to 95%".

Once the service performance objectives have been determined, the presentation of service performance information is then presented in a way that is appropriate to those objectives, so as to enable users to assess:

  • service delivery activities and achievements during the reporting period
  • financial results in the context of the achievements and service delivery objectives
  • efficiency (relationship between inputs and outputs or outcomes) and effectiveness (relationship between actual results and objectives in terms of outputs or outcomes).

Service performance information can be presented either as part of a report that includes the financial statements, or be presented in a separate report. The RPG provides factors to consider in making this choice and provides guidance on additional disclosures that should be presented in a separate report.

After requesting constituent comment in the 2011 consultation paper on whether the guidance on service performance information should be authoritative or non-authoritative, the IPSASB decided in March 2013 that it "should be addressed presently through development of a Recommended Practice Guideline". Accordingly, consistent with other RPGs already issued by the IPSASB, the proposed RPG would be best practice, and entities would not be required to comply with it in order to asset compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in their financial statements.

The exposure draft is open for comment until 31 May 2014. Click for (link to the IFAC website):

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