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

Sent:                                           03 September 2020 15:16

To:                                               Moore, Ashleigh

Subject:                                     CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

 

Weekly update on coronavirus

CIPFA | The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy


CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached September. MPs are returning from recess, students are returning to school, and all attention now turns to the upcoming spending review. With the entire country on tenterhooks in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19, the spending review will determine the levels of financial resilience large parts of the public sector will be able to muster as we move into the winter months.

We’re also anticipating the imminent arrival of the findings of the Redmond Review. Many of you will remember the review being announced at last year’s CIPFA annual conference by former secretary of state James Brokenshire. The review could represent some major changes for local authority accounting, so keep your eyes peeled for our latest updates.

Income compensation scheme

CFOs will likely be aware that details of the government compensation scheme for lost income were released last week. As was widely anticipated, MHCLG will reimburse councils for lost income from sales, fees, and charges.

The scheme provides reimbursement of 75% of lost income after the application of a 5% volatility deduction. Returns should be provided to MHCLG in September, December and April. Reimbursement is then expected in October (2020), January and May (2021). CFOs should take note of paragraphs 26–28, which describe a reconciliation process on which details will be provided at a later date. 

Paragraph 27 specifically states: “The reconciliation may potentially be combined with the final payment.” This indicates a mechanism will be developed to ensure councils have been appropriately reimbursed and that some form of enhancement or clawback arrangement will be introduced to enable this. At 31 March 2021, councils should estimate the level of outstanding lost income between January 2021 and 31 March 2021, any reimbursement outstanding from any other part of the year or any reimbursement overpaid, and make the appropriate adjustment in the 2020/21 financial statements.

CIPFA has noted that reimbursement is expected to be made on the basis of “accuracy and reasonableness” although this has not been defined further. Councils could also be “required to provide evidence on the basis of random sample checking.” However, paragraph 36 is significant in that it specifies that councils could engage their own internal audit department to provide challenge and assess whether the claims have been submitted in accordance with the guidance.  

Public Finance Live goes digital

CIPFA’s annual conference, Public Finance Live, will be going virtual across four days – from Monday 19 to Thursday 22 October – allowing you to take part wherever you are, addressing this year’s theme: COVID-19: Road to Recovery.

 

View conference site

 

CIPFA Speaks!

 

Our two latest podcast episodes feature Nik Miller (CEO, Bridge Group) on social mobility in the accountancy profession, Jeffrey Matsu (CIPFA Chief Economist) on the latest stats from the OBR on COVID-19 economic recovery, and Ileana Steccolini (Professor of Accounting, Essex Business School) on public sector resilience. You can listen via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or on our website.

 

Updates from CIPFA Networks

 

Better Governance Forum

 

A new guide from Audit Scotland explores the short-term challenges facing public bodies in the response phase of the pandemic. It provides audit and risk committee members with suggested questions to help them effectively scrutinise and challenge in the key areas. 

 

Recent webinars  

 

We are running a series of topical webinars exploring various consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for local government and other public service professionals: 

 

  • The importance of NEDs in a post-COVID-19 world. Watch here
  • The future of adult social care. Watch here

Upcoming webinars

The case for local government reorganisation: 10 September 10.30–11.30am

The response to the COVID-19 crisis has revealed stark inequalities throughout local authority service provision in England and shone a spotlight on the need for change in how services are delivered to the people who need them most. How can local government powers be further devolved to best meet the needs of their communities? Join us to discuss the case for, and against, local government reorganisation. Register here.

Public sector performance reporting and the sustainable development goals: 24 September 10.30am–12.00pm

As climate change becomes an increasingly important factor in the decision making of governments, sustainability and performance reporting has grown in both relevance and importance for those working in public finance. Join us for this webinar to discuss the latest frameworks in public sector performance reporting as it relates to the UN’s SDGs and the future of sustainable reporting in the European context. Register here.

Children's social care and the spending review: 29 September 1–2pm

Ahead of the spending review, this joint webinar with the Institute for Government will look at what level of funding is needed for children's social care, what the right balance is between early intervention and crisis support and which of the changes made in response to the crisis should be kept. 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 Mark McLean, CIPFA Policy Support Officer: mark.mclean@cipfa.org.                                             

Rob Whiteman
Chief Executive, CIPFA


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