From:                                             Rob Whiteman, CIPFA <>

Sent:                                               29 October 2020 09:48

To:                                                  Moore, Ashleigh

Subject:                                         CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin


Weekly update on coronavirus

CIPFA | The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy

CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

The situation remains tough across the country, with data showing that cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. Over the weekend, South Yorkshire became the latest region to come under tier 3 restrictions, with parts of Nottinghamshire set to join them.

At the heart of negotiations between councils and Whitehall has been the matter of financial support.

Last week the government announced allocations for a further tranche of funding for local authorities. £900m of the allocated funds are not ring fenced, with the money intended to ensure that councils have the necessary resources over winter.

This is supplemented by £100m from DCMS to support leisure centres, complementing the existing Sales, Fees and Charges scheme established by government. Further details on the scheme will be set out in due course by DCMS.

New inquiry into local government finance

The Housing, Local Government and Communities Committee has announced an inquiry into the spending review and local government finance. The committee expects to consider what approach the government should take to funding local government as part of the 2020 spending review. It will also investigate the current financial health of local authorities and their ability to deliver services. Significantly, this will include the additional pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of single year settlements on the ability of councils to plan and deliver services in the long-term. The closing date for submissions is 27 November 2020. The call for evidence can be accessed here.

Public interest report

Grant Thornton has issued a report in the Public Interest under section 24 and Schedule 7 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 for London Borough of Croydon. CFOs will be interested to note the report’s findings on financial sustainability, borrowing, dedicated school grant and scrutiny.

Free school meals

The government’s recent refusal to extend free school meal vouchers over the half term holiday has resulted in many local authorities (and private businesses) stepping in to fill this gap. The government has responded that it is right that councils should meet this cost and that it provided £63m in June to local authorities to support those struggling with food and essentials. However, demand for this support fund has been high, and the government did extend free school meals over the summer holidays. Many councils that are stepping in to meet this need are doing so from their own pockets.

Given that the government previously extended free school meal vouchers over both the Easter and summer holidays, and the £63m was intended for wider purposes, CIPFA joins those urging the government to reconsider this decision for the half term and Christmas holidays – or to fully fund the cost of local authorities stepping in to ensure no child goes hungry.

Local lockdown grants

BEIS is hoping to be able to share allocation amounts and how this was calculated this week. We understand the allocations are fixed and will not be revised. There will be no additional payments if an authority issues funding in excess of it grant allocation. A factsheet has been published by HM Treasury.

Public Finance Live 2020

Last week, CIPFA hosted its first ever all-virtual annual conference. With over 1,000 delegates registered, it represents one of our most successful events to date. Thank you to everyone who attended. Sessions have been made available on demand for 9 months for all registered delegates.

CIPFA Speaks!

In our most recent podcast episode, we focus on fraud and corruption. This week’s episode features Neil Green, Deputy Director, Counter Fraud and Investigation for the Government Internal Audit Agency and Clair Quentin, Research Associate to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax.

Listen here

CFO webinar: Spending review and beyond

As part of our continued engagement with CFOs, we are delivering an invitation only webinar on 10 November 2020, 11.00–12.15. The event features HMT Deputy Director Tom Wipperman as our first guest speaker.  

Recent webinars

We are running a series of topical webinars exploring various consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for local government and other public service professionals.

• The future of adult social care. Watch here
• The case for local government reorganisation. Watch here
• Public sector performance reporting and the sustainable development goals. Watch here
• Beyond COVID-19: What’s next in adult social care transformation? Watch here
• A place for prevention. Watch here

COVID-19 advice portal for local authorities

Essential guidance for local authorities on all aspects of coronavirus support can be found on the GOV.UK website. It is being regularly updated and should act as the definitive reference point for councils: COVID-19 guidance for local government.

Further advice and guidance can also be found on CIPFA’s COVID-19 hub.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please share any questions or issues you’re experiencing with Joanne Pitt,
CIPFA Local Government Policy Manager:

Rob Whiteman
Chief Executive, CIPFA

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