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

Sent:                                               08 July 2020 14:33

To:                                                  Moore, Ashleigh

Subject:                                         COVID-19 Bulletin

 

Weekly update on coronavirus

CIPFA | The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy


CIPFA COVID-19 Bulletin

Let’s face it - the £500m from last Thursday’s announcement, even when combined with other support announced to date, is not going to be enough for the sector to meet its current challenges. Working it through quite generously, we identified a funding gap of at least £1.2bn. While we will have to wait for clarity on the detail, especially around income, you can guess that many schemes regarded as commercial rather than part of a regeneration initiative will be excluded. 

Allocation will again be a key discussion point, with the impact of the pandemic hitting local areas differently. For example, while London and the south east will take a harder hit initially, they will likely bounce back quicker than other areas. This means that local decision making will need to be at the centre of the recovery. 

Locally based directors of finance need to make sure that money from government is spent well. The ability to do this is grounded in the skill set of the section 151 officer - financial management, governance and good decision making. Recognising that section 151 officers may need extra support post-Covid, we have already started to work on CPD that focuses on your needs.  

Collection fund deficits 

We have already had discussions with MHCLG around the proposals for changing the accounting treatment of the 2020/21 collection fund deficits. Details of how the scheme will work will be confirmed over the coming weeks as MHCLG draft the statutory instrument that will give the changes effect.

Many of you will remember the backdated appeals provision from 2013/14 when the new business rates scheme was first introduced. A similar approach is expected to be applied to both council tax and non-domestic rates, and is expected to be incorporated into the regulatory process of estimating the collection fund deficits in January 2021. This will mean that 2020/21 collection fund deficits will still be recovered but over a longer time frame than the existing regulations require.

We will continue to work with MHCLG on establishing the detail of the proposed changes and will provide support to practitioners in understanding and implementing the changes as soon as we are able.

PWLB consultation 

CIPFA recently hosted two round tables to discuss the PWLB consultation. The feedback and comments have been developed into a draft response which is now being considered by the CIPFA Treasury & Capital Management Panel. The insightful discussions covered messaging around definitions, lender of last resort and decision making.    

Networks update 

Procurement and commissioning network 

According to data released by Tussell (providers of market insight around government procurement), Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on public bodies tendering activities. In April this year, only 900 competitive opportunities (i.e. invitations to tender) were published by the wider UK public sector. This was down 66% on pre-Covid levels in February.

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.

  • Understand the economic impacts of Covid-19: Macro and local government perspectives. Watch here.
  • Decision-making in a VUCA environment. Watch here.

Upcoming webinars

The importance of non-executive directors in a post-COVID world – 15 July 2pm - 3pm

In a time of increasing uncertainty and change, the leadership and experience provided by non-executive directors will be essential. Join our discussion about the importance of NEDs, their key roles and responsibilities and why the position will become even more crucial in a post-COVID world. 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.

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

Rob Whiteman
Chief Executive, CIPFA


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