From:                                             Rob Whiteman, CIPFA <cipfa@email.cipfa.org.uk>

Sent:                                               05 August 2020 15:45

To:                                                  Moore, Ashleigh

Subject:                                         CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

 

Weekly update on coronavirus

CIPFA | The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy


CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

Here we are – August. We’re more than halfway through the year and what should have been peak summer getaway time is still dominated by the coronavirus crisis. The new rules around social gatherings that have been introduced in parts of northern England represent just one of several reminders that we are in this for the long haul. The idea that September would bring with it a return to normality as schools go back is starting to fade. Whatever September brings, we can be sure that it will not be normal. 

COVID-19 funding 

There is still no further detail on how income loss will be calculated by government following last month’s funding announcement. The government is engaging with the sector over proposals and we understand details should be released shortly. As the sector waits for this clarification, the figures are almost certainly increasing. The pressures of COVID do not respect the boundaries of the financial year, and with budget gaps increasing in size, it is no wonder CFOs are increasingly concerned as they reflect on budgets.

Other parts of the public sector are also looking at the financial implications of COVID. A recent report from The Community Network has called for the government to “pause the time-consuming retendering of local authority contracts during the COVID-19 emergency so that providers can have more stability and focus on delivering care”.

This call, if realised, would have implications for local authorities and highlights the need for government to take a coordinated, cross-sector view on any spending decisions.  

New report: How fit were public services for coronavirus?

The latest report from the Institute for Government and CIPFA came out this week. The report sets out an assessment of how prepared and resilient public services were for the pandemic, recommending that the government must analyse the resilience of public services when making spending decisions.

PAC Report: Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak 

We were pleased to see the Public Accounts Committee recognise what we have long been saying - that social care was already on the back foot when COVID-19 emerged. We now need to look forward and start planning. COVID-19 should act as a catalyst for long-awaited reform. See our full response here.

PWLB consultation 

As part of its response to a HM Treasury consultation on the future lending terms of the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB), we called for compliance with the Prudential Code to be made a statutory requirement. Alongside this, we have committed to strengthening the Code by early 2022. 

Our response to the consultation reflects the importance of the Prudential Code to local government. The decisions made off the back of this consultation will shape the sector for years to come, particularly as local authorities settle into regenerating their local economies post-COVID.

Our response can be viewed in full here.

Networks update 

CIPFA Revenues and Benefits Service

Business rates grant closing date 

Following several representations, BEIS is amending the grant closing date. Changes include where there are application deadlines beyond Friday 28 August (expected to relate to the Discretionary Fund only). Full details can be found here

Social Care Advisory Network 

The impact of COVID-19 on young people with SEND

A letter from Chair of the Education Committee Robert Halfon noted that the government does not believe it will be necessary to renew the temporary easements that relate to EHC assessments and plans, should things remain the same. 

Upcoming webinars

The future of adult social care: 12 August 11am - 12pm

Reform of adult social care is long overdue and remains one of the thorniest issues of the UK political landscape. COVID-19 has clearly highlighted weaknesses in the sector’s resilience – and should act as a catalyst for reform. Join us to discuss the past and present of adult social care, and what reforms must take place in a world that has been significantly changed by the pandemic. Register here.

COVID-19 advice portal for local authorities

Essential guidance for local authorities on all aspects of coronavirus support can be found on the GOV.UK website. It is being regularly updated and should act as the definitive reference point for councils: COVID-19 guidance for local government.

Further advice and guidance can also be found on CIPFA’s COVID-19 hub.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Please share any questions or issues you’re experiencing with Joanne Pitt, CIPFA Local Government Policy Manager: joanne.pitt@cipfa.org

Rob Whiteman
Chief Executive, CIPFA


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