Financial pressures on local authorities are intensifying and we are seeing increased scrutiny of finances and the role of chief financial officers (CFOs).
In response to this, CIPFA is introducing some important changes for CIPFA members who are CFOs in UK local authorities. The changes are designed to enhance support for CFOs when completing their CPD by signposting them to relevant material and providing a route to professional support through their annual member statement (AMS). The changes will also improve the Institute’s sector oversight.
The changes are set out below. They are now in effect and will impact the AMS that all CIPFA members need to complete at the end of 2023.
Though the changes directly impact CFOs working in UK local authorities, they will be of interest to all CIPFA members.
Enhanced CPD support
CFOs are required to continuously keep up to date with professional developments and changes in their operating context and environment, such as regulatory, legislative and technological changes. To support CFOs in this, we have created a freely accessible hub on the CIPFA website that brings together new and updated guidance material, relevant literature, and the most recent good practice.
The hub covers a comprehensive range of subject matter and specialist knowledge that a CFO should be aware of and understand as part of their professional role. Maintained and updated by CIPFA, the hub will serve as an invaluable resource for all local authority CFOs and will support their ability to carry out their role at the highest level.
Declaration of code compliance
CFOs are required to comply with three statutory codes. These codes provide the framework for good financial management and sound investment. Where a local authority does not comply with the codes, there is a greater risk of failure and subsequent reputational damage.
In the 2023 AMS, due for completion by March 2024, there will be a new section requiring all local authority CFOs to confirm on a ‘comply or explain basis’ that their local authority meets the requirements of the following statutory codes of practice:
- The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (2021 edition)
- Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice and Cross-sectoral Guidance Notes (2021 edition)
- Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2022/23.
The declaration of code compliance is being introduced to give local authority CFOs the opportunity to raise concerns regarding organisational code compliance and to receive support from CIPFA where required.
If you are currently a serving local authority CFO in the UK, please:
- visit and familiarise yourself with the freely accessible hub on the CIPFA website
- complete the new declaration of code compliance when you come to complete your 2023 AMS.
If you wish to discuss these changes, we welcome your feedback and comments. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.