Writing a Statement of Service Performance
Many people involved with charitable organisations will be familiar with the term ‘Statement of Service Performance’ (SSP). But what is an SSP exactly, who needs to prepare one, and what can it include?
What is a Statement of Service Performance?
Per Charities Services – a Statement of Service Performance is a non-financial report required for Tier-3 and Tier-4 charities, which focuses on the desired outcomes of a charity, and the actual outputs delivered. In layman’s terms – what do you want to achieve, and what did you achieve?
The SSP is an opportunity to showcase your organisations performance in a different way to presenting monetary measures. The SSP should supplement and strengthen the financial information provided in the performance report/financial statements. For example, an organisation may have made a deficit 2 years running. This might ordinarily be cause for concern, but if the SSP demonstrates the growth of the organisation in terms of outputs, then the period as a whole can be viewed as a successful one. This might mean the report could be interpreted differently by a reader than if the SSP was not included.
Who needs to prepare a Statement of Service Performance?
As above, all Tier-3 (below $2m in expenditure) and Tier-4 (below $125k in expenditure) charities. These organisations have been required to include a SSP in their performance report since the new PBE standards were implemented in 2015.
Larger Tier-1 and Tier-2 entities will need to prepare a statement of service performance in their financial statements for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2022. This means that the work essentially begins the year before this requirement, with it forming the comparative year in the 2022 financial statements.
What can be included in a Statement of Service Performance?
Generally, an SSP will start with a description or definition of the organisations desired outcomes. Ultimately – this is why the organisation exists, what it is trying to achieve. This essentially is their mission and strategy rolled into one.
Both qualitative and quantitative information. A sports club for example might want to illustrate the growth in its membership base. It could do this by providing the number of registrations or teams entered at various levels.
Additional information. An SSP can include any extra information that may help the reader to understand the entities outcomes and its outputs. For example, a paragraph explaining how lockdown impacted an organisations ability to get out into the community and reach more people, might explain why an output was not quite at the desired level.
Other useful points
- If you are audited, then any information included in a SSP needs to be auditable – i.e. you need to be able to verify or support it.
- Outputs are commonly already produced and included in an annual report. Generally these can be copied into the SSP and reviewed for appropriateness.
- An SSP can be as brief as 1 page whilst maintaining effectiveness, or as long as 10 pages. It really does depend on the organisation.
- Graphics and imagery can be included to support the claims made in the SSP.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all things SSP, but should provide enough of an overview for those getting started. If you are struggling with preparing your statement of service performance, then do reach out for some assistance.