CIPFA proposes amendments to S.114 guidelines in wake of COVID-19


CIPFA's guidance to CFOs has been modified to allow councils under budgetary pressure due to COVID-19 the time and space to explore alternatives to freezing spending via a S.114 notice.

Councils have a legal responsibility to balance their budget, with S.114 notices issued when spending is likely to exceed resource. The temporary modifications to guidance proposed by CIPFA would mean that it should not normally be necessary for S.114 notices to be issued while informal discussions with government are in progress.

The institute is proposing two specific modifications:

  • At the earliest possible stage a CFO should make informal confidential contact with MHCLG to advise of financial concerns and a possible forthcoming S.114 requirement.
  • The CFO should communicate the potential unbalanced budget position due to COVID-19 to MHCLG at the same time as providing a potential S.114 scenario report to the council executive (cabinet) and the external auditor.

Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said:

"The challenges posed to local government finance by COVID-19 are likely to deepen as the year progresses. It is essential that local government and its partners in central government respond jointly to this crisis.

"With the pandemic accelerating demand across all local services, any freezes on spending in any local area could potentially be highly disruptive and not an effective tool at this time. Temporary change to the S.114 notice process creates space to explore other options or financial support that may be available to local authorities, while allowing finance directors to meet their statutory responsibilities."


For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5737 or E:

Notes to editors


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.

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