The UK's Financial Reporting Council (FRC) citizens’ juries believe the FRC should take firmer action to hold companies to account, says new research. The citizens’ juries allowed participants to be presented with, and have time to discuss topics including corporate reporting, corporate governance, audit and the FRC’s work in these areas.

The research was conducted on behalf of the FRC by BritainThinks, involving members of the public from across the country in a discussions-based approach called citizens’ jury.

Participants from the research believe the FRC should have more power and ‘teeth’ to hold companies to account, but increase in regulation should not impact companies’ ability to operate and flourish.

According to the FRC, citizens’ initial views of companies tends to be negative with corporate misdemeanours. When considering the impact companies can have in the UK – specifically on the economy and local areas – views are more positive, particularly the importance of companies providing employment, products and services, and investing in the UK.

Participants believed the regulator should hold individuals (other than those who are members of a professional body presently) and companies to account to deter wrongdoing. Regulators and companies should also operate in the public interest, taking into account the views of wider audiences, including employees, and improve diversity on boards.

The respondents also believed regulators should maintain its independence from those it regulates as they felt it was important to ensure the independence of non-executive directors and audit partners from the companies they work with.

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