Service Reporting Code Of Practice (2019/20 Edition) (update pack)

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The Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) is prepared in accordance with the financial reporting framework established by the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the Code). It applies to all local authority services throughout the UK from 1 April 2018 for the preparation of 2019/20 budgets and performance indicators.


Update pack


Dec 2018




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The SeRCOP is reviewed annually to ensure that it develops in line with the needs of modern local government, transparency, best value and public services reform.This is increasingly important as transparency initiatives and performance and best value regimes are evolving constantly and are expected to become ever more sophisticated.

In England, SeRCOP is given legislative backing under the Local Government Act 2003. In Scotland, SeRCOP’s Service Expenditure Analysis (SEA) and guidance is used by the Scottish Government as the basis for specifying the requirements of the Local Financial Returns (LFRs). 

Section 2, the Definition of Total Cost, and Section 3, the Service Expenditure Analysis, provide the base requirements of SeRCOP for government statistical and other performance reporting purposes, and are fully consistent with the requirements of the Code. Good practice guidance is included as a commentary to Section 2.

For 2019/20, changes for the England and Wales SEAs have been made to public health services (England). The Scottish SEA guidance has been updated to include reference to the treatment of the Scottish Welfare Fund. 

Section 4 includes the recommended standard subjective analysis to help authorities to make effective comparisons for financial reporting requirements.

The 2019/20 SeRCOP reflects the specifications in the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2019/20 in respect of the new formats and reporting requirements for the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement as a result of the Telling the Story review of the presentation of local authority financial statements*.

[*Note: local authorities are required to include a segmental analysis in the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement based on the organisational structure under which the authority manages performance and takes decisions on resource allocation and not as the SeRCOP SEA.]

SeRCOP establishes proper practices with regard to consistent financial reporting for services. It is an official CIPFA statement – all local authorities in the UK are expected to adopt its mandatory requirements and detailed recommendations. It is also expected that CIPFA members will comply with all the mandatory requirements of SeRCOP as it defines best practice in terms of financial reporting for government statistical and other performance reporting purposes.

This publication is available in hard copy (presented as a loose-leaf update pack for your existing binder) and online.

The digital, online version is a bookmarked downloadable PDF of the publication that can be shared throughout your organisation. Customers will need to register and log in to CIPFA’s website to access the publication.

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

A replacement binder/presentation box is also available to purchase.