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
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
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
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
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.
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.
CIPFA Revenues and Benefits Service
Business rates grant closing date
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
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.
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.
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.
advice and guidance can also be found on CIPFA’s
share any questions or issues you’re experiencing with Joanne
Pitt, CIPFA Local Government Policy Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive, CIPFA