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 2023 for the preparation of 2023/24 budgets and performance indicators.
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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.
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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