Internal controls

Parent companies


The boards of Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV exercise independent supervisory roles over the activities and systems of internal control of Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV. The boards of Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV have each adopted a schedule of matters which are required to be brought to them for decision. In relation to Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV, the boards of Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV approve the strategy and the annual budgets, and receive regular reports on the operations, including the treasury and risk management activities of the two companies. Major transactions proposed by the boards of Reed Elsevier Group plc or Elsevier Reed Finance BV require the approval of the boards of both Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV.

The Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV Audit Committees meet on a regular basis to review the systems of internal control and risk management of Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV.



Operating companies


The Board of Reed Elsevier Group plc is responsible for the system of internal control of the Reed Elsevier publishing and information businesses, while the Board of Elsevier Reed Finance BV is responsible for the system of internal control in respect of the finance group activities. The boards of Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV are also responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of their system of internal control.

The boards of Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV have implemented an ongoing process for identifying, evaluating, monitoring and managing the more significant risks faced by their respective businesses.



Reed Elsevier Group plc


Reed Elsevier Group plc has an established framework of procedures and internal controls, with which the management of each business is required to comply. Group businesses are required to maintain systems of internal control which are appropriate to the nature and scale of their activities and address all significant operational and financial risks that they face. The board of Reed Elsevier Group plc has adopted a schedule of matters that are required to be brought to it for decision.

Reed Elsevier Group plc has a Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that provides a guide for achieving its business goals and requires officers and employees to behave in an open, honest, ethical and principled manner. The Code also outlines confidential procedures enabling employees to report any concerns about compliance, or about Reed Elsevier’s financial reporting practice. Click here to read the Code in full.

Each division has identified and evaluated its major risks, the controls in place to manage those risks and the level of residual risk accepted. Risk management and control procedures are embedded into the operations of the business and include the monitoring of progress in areas for improvement that come to management and board attention. The major risks identified include business continuity, protection of IT systems and data, challenges to intellectual property rights, management of strategic and operational change, evaluation and integration of acquisitions, and recruitment and retention of personnel.

The major strategic risks facing the Reed Elsevier Group plc businesses are considered by the board. Litigation and other legal and regulatory matters are managed by legal directors in Europe and the United States.

The Reed Elsevier Group plc Audit Committee receives regular reports on the identification and management of material risks and reviews these reports. The Audit Committee also receives regular reports from both internal and external auditors on internal control and risk management matters. In addition, each division is required, at the end of the financial year, to review the effectiveness of its internal controls and risk management and report its findings on a detailed basis to the management of Reed Elsevier Group plc. These reports are summarised and, as part of the annual review of effectiveness, submitted to the Audit Committee of Reed Elsevier Group plc. The Chairman of the Audit Committee reports to the Board on any significant internal control matters arising.



Elsevier Reed Finance BV


Elsevier Reed Finance BV has established policy guidelines, which are applied to all Elsevier Reed Finance BV companies. The boards of Elsevier Reed Finance BV have adopted schedules of matters that are required to be brought to them for decision. Procedures are in place for monitoring the activities of the finance group, including a comprehensive treasury reporting system. The major risks affecting the finance group have been identified and evaluated and are subject to regular review. The controls in place to manage these risks and the level of residual risk accepted are monitored by the boards. The internal control system of the Elsevier Reed Finance BV group is reviewed each year by its external auditors.



Annual review


As part of the year-end procedures, the audit committees and boards of Reed Elsevier PLC, Reed Elsevier NV, Reed Elsevier Group plc and Elsevier Reed Finance BV review the effectiveness of the systems of internal control and risk management during the last financial year. The objective of these systems is to manage, rather than eliminate, the risk of failure to achieve business objectives. Accordingly, they can only provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance against material misstatement or loss. The boards have confirmed, subject to the above, that the respective risk management and control systems provide reasonable assurance against material inaccuracies or loss and have functioned properly during the year.