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

Sent:                                    21 April 2020 16:23

To:                                        Moore, Ashleigh

Subject:                                CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

 

Weekly update on coronavirus

CIPFA | The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy


CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

Key financial challenges

The weekend saw some welcome progress in terms of resources allocated to local government to fight COVID-19. On Saturday, the government announced an extra £1.6bn for local authorities to support escalating costs at this challenging time. 

While this funding is certainly a step in the right direction, it goes without saying that more will be needed. Councils are seeing reduced income at a time when demand is set for a rapid rise, and this is alongside ongoing systemic funding issues that are yet to be solved. It is vital we ensure that councils can maintain services such as adult social care, as well as provision for the homeless and for those in other vulnerable groups.  

Deferral of central share payments to ease cash-flow burden 

One of the most immediate impacts of the coronavirus has been the challenges to cash-flow. To ease this, MHCLG have announced that billing authorities will not have to make the NNDR 1 2020/21 central share payments for the first three months of 2020/21. Usually these are scheduled evenly throughout the year. This is a deferral - they will still have to be paid later in the year.  

The payments relating to the first three months will instead be collected over the period October - March 2020/21 and will be detailed in regulations due to be laid shortly. Payments from billing authorities to major preceptors based on NNDR 1 2020/21 do still have to be made in accordance with the normal schedule of payments and tariff payments do still have to be made. 

Social care 

CIPFA’s survey exploring the impact of COVID-19 on local government identified that 70% of respondents had made early payments to suppliers and over 30% had issued additional fees to providers. While not all of these will relate to social care, it is important that the provider market is supported, as set out in the guidance for commissioners. Respondents provided further details on costs of social care, including the additional recruitment of care workers and purchase of care home places in expectation of increased demand. 

Further, the enhanced hospital discharge process and easing of the requirement for financial assessments and assessments of need under the Care Act 2014, will mean that finance teams will need to think about the implications for the cost of care they are providing during the coronavirus response.

The following sources provide further detail on these issues:

Update from the Networks 

FAN and CBRS 

Pulling together all the recent changes, FAN and CBRS have summarised the accounting impact of government announcements on COVID-19 support, including:

  • Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21
  • Business Grants
  • NNDR 1 2020/21 S31 Grants paid in advance
  • Deferral of Central Share
  • Council Tax Hardship Scheme

This has been included in our FAQs, a link to which can be found at the end of the newsletter.

Better Governance Forum 

CIPFA and the IASAB guidance

CIPFA is working with other standard setters through the IASAB board to put out guidance to internal auditors in the public sector on managing the impact of the pandemic on internal audit in accordance with PSIAS. We hope that the guidance will be confirmed soon and will publicise it as soon as possible.

Local Authority Accounting Panel year-end bulletin

The LAAP year-end bulletin is currently being finalised and will be circulated shortly. This year’s bulletin has been made more complex than usual due to the impact and uncertainty that COVID-19 has created around many areas of financial valuation and judgements within the accounts. Alongside this, the panel have taken time to liaise with stakeholders, regulators and the audit community to consider the accounting guidance required to deal with accounting for accumulated balances in reserves for Dedicated Schools Grant and the implications of the McCloud and Sargaent Judgements for measurement of pension liabilities. CIPFA will continue to support practitioners in the sector through its network services and technical enquiry support.

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 to Joanne Pitt,
CIPFA Local Government Policy Manager: joanne.pitt@cipfa.org


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