Service Reporting Code of Practice for Local Authorities 2021/22



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 2021 for the preparation of 2021/22 budgets and performance indicators.







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Modern local government is constantly developing and adapting to its current economic climate. Transparency initiatives, performance and best value regimes are evolving in expectation of the government becoming more sophisticated.

SeRCOP is reviewed annually to ensure that it develops in line with the needs of local government, transparency, best value and public services reform.

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

For 2021/22, following two consultations on the service expenditure analysis (SEA), changes have been made to the public health (England) section of the SEA to require mandatory reporting at service subdivision level and to the police service SEA to require that reporting is at service level only.

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.

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