Accounts

Accounting Policies

for the year ended 31st March 2012

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Long term contracts

Where the outcome of a long term contract can be estimated reliably, revenue and costs are recognised by reference to the stage of completion. This is measured by the proportion that contract costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total contract costs.

Where the outcome of a long term contract cannot be estimated reliably, contract revenue is recognised to the extent of contract costs incurred that it is probable will be recoverable. Contract costs are recognised as expenses in the period in which they are incurred.

When it is probable that the total contract costs will exceed total contract revenue, the expected loss is recognised as an expense immediately.

Finance costs and finance income

Finance costs that are directly attributable to the construction of an asset that necessarily takes a substantial period of time to get ready for its intended use and for which construction was commenced after 1st April 2007 are capitalised as part of the cost of that asset. Other finance costs and finance income are recognised in the income statement in the year incurred.

Research and development

Research expenditure is charged to the income statement in the year incurred.

Development expenditure is charged to the income statement in the year incurred unless it meets the IFRS recognition criteria for capitalisation. When the recognition criteria have been met any further development expenditure is capitalised as an intangible asset.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and any provisions for impairment. Finance costs that relate to an asset that takes a substantial period of time to construct and for which construction was started after 1st April 2007 are capitalised as part of the cost of that asset. Other finance costs are not capitalised.

Depreciation is provided at rates calculated to write off the cost less estimated residual value of each asset over its useful life. Certain freehold buildings and plant and equipment are depreciated using the units of production method, as this more closely reflects their expected consumption. All other assets are depreciated using the straight line method. The useful lives vary according to the class of the asset, but are typically: leasehold property 30 years (or the life of the lease if shorter); freehold buildings 30 years; and plant and equipment 4 to 10 years. Freehold land is not depreciated.

Goodwill

Goodwill arises on the acquisition of a business when the fair value of the consideration given exceeds the fair value attributed to the net assets acquired (including contingent liabilities). It is subject to annual impairment reviews. Acquisition-related costs arising on acquisitions made after 31st March 2010 are charged to the income statement as incurred. Acquisition-related costs arising on acquisitions made on or before 31st March 2010 were regarded as a component of consideration and therefore increased goodwill.

The group and parent company have taken advantage of the exemption allowed under IFRS 1 and so goodwill arising on acquisitions made before 1st April 2004 is included at the carrying amount at that date less any subsequent impairments. Up to 31st March 1998 goodwill was eliminated against equity.

Intangible assets

Intangible assets are stated at cost less accumulated amortisation and any provisions for impairment. They are amortised in accordance with the relevant income stream or by using the straight line method over the useful lives from the time they are first available for use. The estimated useful lives vary according to the specific asset but are typically: 1 to 12 years for customer contracts and relationships; 3 to 8 years for capitalised computer software; 3 to 20 years for patents, trademarks and licences; 10 years for acquired research and technology; and 3 to 8 years for capitalised development currently being amortised.

Intangible assets which are not yet being amortised are subject to annual impairment reviews.

Investments in subsidiaries

Investments in subsidiaries are stated in the parent company’s balance sheet at cost less any provisions for impairment. If a distribution is received from a subsidiary then the investment in that subsidiary is assessed for an indication of impairment.

Leases

Leases are classified as finance leases whenever they transfer substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership to the group. The assets are included in property, plant and equipment and the capital elements of the leasing commitments are shown as obligations under finance leases. The assets are depreciated on a basis consistent with similar owned assets or the lease term if shorter. The interest element of the lease rental is included in the income statement.

All other leases are classified as operating leases and the lease costs are expensed on a straight line basis over the lease term.

Grants

Grants related to assets are included in deferred income and released to the income statement in equal instalments over the expected useful lives of the related assets.

Grants related to income are deducted in reporting the related expense.

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