The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL), through Prof Derick de Jongh, was intimately involved in the development of the discussion paper by the South African Integrated Reporting Committee. Through this process, the Centre recognised the opportunity for creating an integrated reporting practice with the necessary academic legitimacy, advancing the new emerging paradigm of integrated reporting.
The ALCRL’s value proposition for its involvement in the field of integrated reporting will manifest through a combination of academic programmes and research projects, as well as the process of professionalising integrated reporting through advocacy initiatives within the South African integrated reporting space.
Integrated reporting academic programmes:
The ALCRL has established a formal Postgraduate Diploma in Integrated Reporting (PGDIR). The PGDIR is a one-year, part-time academic programme, consisting of six subject areas from different academic disciplines, ranging from corporate communication, information technology and knowledge management, to business strategy, responsible leadership and integrated reporting frameworks and assurance.
The first intake of students will be in January 2013. The closing date for applications are 31 October 2012.
The vision of the ALCRL is that integrated reporting will become a stand-alone profession. The Centre envisages the creation of a professional body that will define the training and practical requirements to qualify as a member of the professional body.
The current vision is that there will be two levels of qualification. Firstly, a qualification to prepare integrated reports, and secondly, a qualification to provide assurance on integrated reports.
The PGDIR is the first step towards the professionalisation of integrated reporting.
Research and advocacy
The ALCRL is part of a wide network of academic and other organisations around the world. This network will be leveraged to raise awareness of the work that the ALCRL is performing with regard to integrated reporting.
The Centre is already advising a number of master’s and PhD students who are either in the process of conducting research or considering postgraduate studies in the field of integrated reporting. The Centre will continue to pursue current research into best practice in integrated reporting to ensure that its curriculum remains current within this rapidly changing and very dynamic environment. It is within this area that the Centre is in urgent need of capacity to pursue the projects that it has identified. Three research projects that have been identified are as follows:
· An investigation into the maturity of integrated reporting practice in South Africa;
· an assessment of the value that integrated reporting practices has added to reporting organisations; and
· an investigation into the credibility of integrated reports: Levels and type of assurance attained and inclusion of stakeholders in the assurance process.
The ALCRL is currently involved in a joint research project with the Harvard Business School. The research is relevant to the integrated reporting practice in that it is investigating corporate governance within South Africa. The King III Report on Corporate Governance clearly stipulates the importance of integrated reporting in the pursuit of good corporate governance. Needless to say, the practice of integrated reporting is considered and applied at the highest level in the local corporate sector today.
Pieter Conradie Pieter.email@example.com