"COVID-19 represents the greatest challenge faced by public services in a generation, placing local government under greater pressure than ever before. Yesterday, CIPFA/LASAAC considered radical proposals to streamline the 2019/20 accounts, in an effort to alleviate the pressure on budget holders and finance teams that have been diverted from their normal duties.
"However, from extensive discussions over the last week, it is clear that the simplification and reduction we proposed is not acceptable to regulators and auditors. Separately, HM Treasury has advised us that some of CIPFA’s proposals might arguably not provide the information still necessary for whole of government accounts (WGA).
“CIPFA has consistently been briefed by local government CFOs that the the workload associated with minor changes only would outweigh any benefits for stretched finance teams. Therefore, in order to create certainty for both the preparers and auditors of accounts, the CIPFA/LASAAC Board has resolved that in the absence of regulator and audit support, the status quo position will hold for full application of the 2019/20 Code.
“In acknowledging that, sadly, radical change is not possible on this occasion, CIPFA nonetheless encourages the application of local judgement on what disclosures should be made in order to alleviate organisational pressures on councils.
“Our general concern remains that the status quo on this issue creates a risk that 2019/20 reporting deferrals will impinge on 2021/22 budgeting this autumn. Councils and their finance teams will be grappling with reduced income, higher service costs and planned savings proposals that have to be reappraised. We will continue to do all we can to assist finance teams and councils with this difficult position."
For further information please contact the CIPFA press office on T: 020 7543 5737 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
The CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Code Board is responsible for preparing, maintaining, developing and issuing the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting for the United Kingdom.
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.