I joined News UK as its Energy & Environment Manager just weeks prior to the submission deadline for the Year 2 Annual Report. My new role encompassed full responsibility for News UK’s CRC compliance and having had no handover period with my predecessor, I had little information with which to work from when producing the Year 2 Annual Report.
With the submission deadline fast approaching, I used what little information I had – including a predefined organisational structure, as well as supplier and meter information lists – and submitted the Year 2 Annual Report. I was aware that there was a high risk of error in the report and the accompanying information in the Evidence Pack, due to the lack of available time and data that I had to make the submission.
Recognising the risks, I was eager to conduct an internal audit of both the Year 1 and Year 2 reporting periods. I decided to use a third party in order to ensure impartial verification and assurance, as well as to help me identify the required corrective actions to build the right platform for all future reporting periods. I chose to use Carbon Credentials’ services due to their expert knowledge of CRC compliance and their unrivalled history of conducting internal audits for numerous companies.
Firstly, Carbon Credentials conducted a thorough data spot check of our Year 1 and Year 2 report submissions. The spot check was conducted against a rigorous risk rating and methodology, which made me very confident regarding the accuracy of their ultimate findings. The team worked methodically through all of our Evidence Pack information, documenting the gap analysis process and its findings down to the smallest of details.
The senior auditor, Oliver Smallman, and his team followed a defined and well established audit methodology, whilst calling on their past experience to ensure the audit focused on all key areas of risk and compliance requirements. The Carbon Credentials team took the decision to combine the Year 1 and Year 2 audits into one report offering, which meant the final report took longer than expected. As a result, however, we were provided with a much more holistic review of our compliance to date. We both agreed that this was the best approach and it has proved to be much more time efficient in the long run.
We now fully understand where the errors in our data lie. What’s more, we have a detailed action plan to follow, which will result in the establishment of a concrete system for future reporting, thus dramatically reducing the risk of errors, potential fines and overpayment of allowances. The gaps identified in our Evidence Pack have now been filled and the recommendations for an overarching CRC system have been followed.
Through the issuing of the combined Year 1 and Year 2 Internal Audit report, I was able to communicate the key risks to CRC compliance in a clear and concise manner to senior level management. This helped me get the senior level buy-in I needed to fulfil my role in ensuring ongoing compliance and improvement to the CRC scheme.
Another benefit of the audit process was that it put a renewed focus on the importance of accurate and effective energy and data management. We are now using our CRC data more effectively to influence the day-to-day energy management practices within the organisation, generating new and renewed energy and cost savings.
The internal audit process exceeded my expectations, and I have now experienced the benefits of third party assurance and verification. I would be keen to seek third party assurance as an integral part of the CRC process in future and would certainly recommend Carbon Credentials to others. Their knowledge and expertise gave me great confidence in the audit findings, and I am currently working my way through their list of corrective actions.