Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

CIPFA LASAAC Local Authority Code Board

This board is responsible for preparing, maintaining, developing and issuing the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting for the United Kingdom.

From 2010/11 onwards, the Code has been based on International Financial Reporting Standards.

The board is a partnership between CIPFA (England, Northern Ireland and Wales) and the Local Authority (Scotland) Accounts Advisory Committee (LASAAC).

Contact cipfalasaac@cipfa.org with any queries about CIPFA/LASAAC.

Find out more by reading the CIPFA/LASAAC Terms of Referencethe Relevant Authority memorandum of understanding (terms of reference) and the subpages listed below:

What's going on?

Local authority accounting requirements to be simplified to ease COVID-19 pressures

The CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Code Board agreed on Friday 27 March 2020 to seek to update the 2019/20 Accounting Code with a simplified version in order the ease the burden on practitioners as they respond to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

In a joint statement, Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, and Conrad Hall, chair of CIPFA/LASAAC, said: 

“As the UK response to the COVID-19 crisis continues, it is already clear that scarce finance and departmental resources in local government have been diverted from normal financial management and reporting duties and are being deployed to assist and support frontline services. 

“The immediate milestone of course is the preparation of the financial statements for 2019/20. Realistically, the level of resources that are available to prepare financial statements will either not be available, at best, be severely depleted.  

“We have recognised that the requirement to fully prepare financial statements at this time is not tenable. To maintain the integrity of the accountability framework while relieving the burden on finance professionals a radical solution is required.  

“The CIPFA/LASAAC Code Board therefore proposes, extraordinarily, to suspend the requirement to apply the Code of Accounting Practice for 2019/20 in its current format. This will be substituted with a forthcoming Code update which will set out, a radically reduced (or simplified) set of financial statements. 

“This proposal will be subject to approval from the HM Treasury Financial Reporting Advisory Board and we are liaising urgently with the Financial Reporting Council, representatives of the audit profession, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and representatives of the devolved administrations for the required approvals.

“We are therefore in a short space of time exploring how the revised statements can account for the general fund, collection fund, Housing Revenue Account balance and present a limited balance sheet. We hope to reveal our proposals in detail in early April.”

Deferral of IFRS 16 Leases 

At its meeting on Friday 27 March CIPFA/LASAAC also agreed to defer the implementation of IFRS 16 Leases to the 2021/22 financial year, with an effective date of 1 April 2021. This decision aligns with the proposals across the public sector, but will need to be agreed by the government’s Financial Reporting Advisory Board.

Update to the 2018/19 Code: IFRS 9 Financial Instruments: prepayment features with negative compensation and other augmentations

CIPFA/LASAAC has issued an update to the 2018/19 Code of Practice to provide transitional provisions for changes in accounting practices or treatment for modifications of exchanges of financial liabilities that do not result in derecognition which arise as a result of clarifications in IFRS 9 Financial Instruments: Prepayment Features with Negative Compensation (IASB October 2017) and minor augmentations to the provisions relating to exchanges between an existing borrower and lender.

The Update to the 2018/19 Code must be read in conjunction with the 2018/19 Code published by CIPFA in April 2018. The Update includes tracked changes to appropriate extracts of the 2018/19 Code with both new and amended paragraphs required to form the revised 2018/19 Code. The Update has been made available to purchasers of the 2018/19 Code.

Important statement: implementation of IFRS 16 to be deferred until 1 April 2020

CIPFA/LASAAC has issued the following statement following decisions taken at the meeting of the government's Financial Reporting Advisory Board (FRAB) on 22 November 2018.

Statement from the CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Accounting Code Board:Implementation of IFRS 16 Leases (PDF, 225KB). 

See also the Code development feedback statement which indicates key IFRS 16 Leases implementation decisions by CIPFA/LASAAC arising from consultation responses and stakeholder feedback.

CIPFA/LASAAC clarification statement on contracts with LOBO clauses

CIPFA/LASAAC has issued the following statement on 15 May 2018: 

Clarification statement on contracts with LOBO clauses (PDF, 402KB).

Statement from CIPFA/LASAAC on the adoption of IFRS 9

CIPFA/LASAAC has issued the following statement on 13 November 2017:

CIPFA/LASAAC Statement on the Adoption of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (PDF, 66.8KB).

Important statement from CIPFA/LASAAC on the measurement of the highways network asset

CIPFA/LASAAC hasissued the following important statement on 10 March 2017:

Statement from CIPFA/LASAAC Local Authority Code Board on the Measurement of the Highways Network Asset (PDF, 212KB).

Accounting for Local Authority Maintained Schools (England and Wales) 

An informal commentary and clarification on the relationship between schools as entities and the recognition of non-current assets used by schools is provided. It indicates the basis for the existing Code treatment for local authority maintained schools in the Code, including a note on the work of the public sector accounting for schools working group.

Articles

Sarah Sheen, Technical Manager-Local Government Reporting at CIPFA, published To have and to leasehold:accounting for leases in Public Finance on 5 September 2018. 

Alison Scott, former Head of Standards and Financial Reporting at CIPFA, published How to Make a Code of Practice in Public Finance on 28 March 2017.

The Chair of CIPFA/LASAAC, Lynn Pamment, and the Secretary, Sarah Sheen, published Council Accounting: A Shift from Rules to Principles in Public Finance.

Alison Scott, former Head of Standards and Financial Reporting at CIPFA, published Accounts Should Be of Interest to Local Taxpayers in the 4 June 2015 issue of Municipal Journal