Financial resilience advisory report

Giving an independent, informed and insightful opinion to councils on their financial resilience and advice on options to deliver a balanced budget.


In recent years, councils will have exhausted all the ‘low hanging fruit’ of actions, and even those have longer term unintended consequences. In addition, service demands and expectations continue to grow but with income sources not aligning automatically, which is especially so in times of austerity.

As a result, there could be financial failure in some councils. CIPFA sees this new product as vital in helping avoid this, if at all possible. (Our Treasury Management Risk study, in association with PSLive, addresses risk). But we expect most councils will wish to gain an expert opinion on their current financial resilience. CIPFA will use its members, assets and partners to do just that through its new product, the Financial Resilience Advisory Report – a report based on experienced professional insight, typically from experienced CFOs but coupled with CIPFA’s unique range of diagnostic tools. This is CIPFA and CFOs working together to help support individual CFOs and maintain the overall proud record of financial governance across the whole of local government.


Our new approach developed with the sector, centre' around a report typically commissioned by the CFO as a corporate initiative, and includes:

  • a process and report heavily based on the professional insight, judgement and experience of expert CFO’s, supported by CIPFA’s unique range of networks and diagnostics
  • a tailored set of pre-report diagnostics, including demographics, revenue and grant projections, outlier benchmarking, balance sheet opportunities and commercial income
  • an onsite review team, including two experienced peers, including at least one CFO. This can be complemented by a CEO or peer external to local government (eg NHS) as agreed, to test financial projections and transformation plan delivery, as well as short- and medium-term prospects together with any proximity to s114.

In addition: 

  • The report is an independent professional assessment of financial resilience with advice on next steps. CIPFA will not publish or share the report, which is a client responsibility.
  • The report is aimed as much at council CFOs, who feel their council is reasonably well set to face the future, as for those councils who fear their financial resilience is under threat in the short term. In both cases, the informed professional insight at the core of the Advisory Report will provide independent and informed opinion on the position and the way forward.
  • We have discussed this approach with the LGA. It will not compete with their core Peer Review work with councils. CIPFA hopes that the LGA will look to commission CIPFA’s Financial Resilience Report when appropriate as part of its own sector-led improvement role.
  • We will obtain anonymous feedback on the process, and added value will be considered by Association of Local Authority Treasurer Societies (ALATS).

Contact our advisory team

Get in touch with our team on T: 020 7543 5600 or E: to explore how we can advise and make recommendations on your organisation's financial resilience.

Download our brochure for more details [PDF 445k].


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