Local government finance in the UK is governed by primary legislation, regulation and professional standards as supported by regulation. The general financial management of a local authority, however, has not been supported by a professional code. CIPFA is now proposing that a Financial Management Code (CIPFA FM Code) should be designed and developed to support good practice in financial management and to assist local authorities in demonstrating their financial sustainability.
The CIPFA FM Code would therefore for the first time set standards of financial management for local authorities in the UK.
The draft FM Code is based on a series of principles supported by specific standards and statements of practice. They are considered necessary to provide the strong foundation within local authorities to enable them to:
The draft FM Code is consistent with other CIPFA codes and statements in that it is based on principles rather than prescription. Each local authority (and those bodies designated to apply the FM Code) must demonstrate that the requirements of the FM Code are being satisfied.
Demonstrating this compliance with the CIPFA FM Code is the collective responsibility of elected members, the chief finance officer and their professional colleagues in the leadership team.
Significantly, the CIPFA FM Code builds on the success of the CIPFA Prudential Code, which requires local authorities to demonstrate the long-term financial sustainability of their capital expenditure and associated borrowing. With this success came new financial freedoms to make local decisions on matters that had hitherto been subject to central government control.
The draft FM Code is not expected to be considered in isolation, and accompanying tools will form part of the collective suite of evidence to demonstrate sound decision making.
To date, the draft FM Code has been developed with a specified governance process which includes practitioners, auditors and representatives of governments across the UK. It was then ‘road tested’ by a range of local authorities to provide early evidence of both practicality and fitness for purpose. Now, CIPFA is seeking to consult more widely and consequently invites comments on the draft FM Code.
Download the FM Code Consultation Version (PDF, 878KB) and please use this FM Code Response Sheet (Word, 22KB), since this will ensure that your responses can be incorporated consistently into our analysis.
Return by email to FMcode@cipfa.org by 30 April 2019