Code Of Practice On Local Authority Accounting In The United Kingdom 2019/20

Code of practice on local authority accounting in the UK 2019/20 front cover


This code is prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which have been adopted as the basis for public sector accounting in the UK. The 2019/20 Code has been developed by CIPFA/LASAAC and has effect for financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2019.




Apr 2019



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Local authorities in the United Kingdom are required to keep their accounts in accordance with ‘proper (accounting) practices’. Public sector organisations responsible for locally delivered services are required by legislation to comply with the terms of the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the Code). This 2019/20 edition of the Code has been developed by CIPFA/LASAAC and has effect for financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2019.

The Code specifies the principles and practices of accounting required to prepare financial statements which give a true and fair view of the financial position and transactions of a local authority. 

This edition of the Code introduces a number of important amendments relating both to context and an understanding of requirements, as well as changes in some of accounting requirements.  In particular the following areas should be noted:

  • Improved clarity regarding the specification of proper accounting practices, the Code’s role in these, the impact of statutory accounting requirements on the annual accounts, and the manner in which they affect the presentation of local authority reserves, including the distinction between usable and unusable reserves
  • Significant amendments to Chapter Two to reflect the revisions made by the IASB to the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting (Conceptual Framework)
  • Changes relating to the previous Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme and Landfill Allowances Schemes
  • An additional section to address the treatment of the Apprenticeship Levy
  • For Scottish authorities, recognition of the ability to present transfers to or from other statutory reserves, allowance for voluntary transfers between the Revaluation Reserve and the General Fund, and pension fund legislation amendments
  • For Welsh authorities recognition of legislation changes relating to separate publication of pension fund accounts
  • Amendments to Section 7.1 (Financial Instruments) arising from amendments made to IFRS 9 Financial Instruments
  • Changes to group accounts requirements implementing scope clarifications for disclosure requirements.

The Code applies to local government organisations across the UK including local authorities, police bodies, fire services and other local public service bodies.

The Code is available in hard copy and online.

The digital, online version is available as both searchable HTML and a bookmarked downloadable PDF of the publication that can be shared throughout your organisation. 

Details of licensing arrangements for other categories of purchaser, which includes those organisations operating shared service arrangements, are available from CIPFA’s Publications Department.