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

Sent:                                    02 June 2020 16:39

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 

As CFOs, we recognise that although there is always a fire to fight, it is necessary to look beyond today’s problems to the longer term horizon. Planning for 2021/22 will be challenging. With income falling, unemployment expected to rise and a lack of certainty around funding, there are going to be difficult decisions to make. Strong leadership from the CFO combined with good financial management will be essential as budget planning gets underway. 

However beyond that, as a profession we need to start a conversation about the long-term outlook for local government if we are to avoid lurching from crisis to crisis. Crisis management should be the exception not the rule. 

In my recent article for Public Finance, I expressed concern around social care and reflected on some of the issues the sector will need to think about, such as the balance sheet and investment. But this is just part of the story. The role of the CFO is going to be key in the recovery and regeneration of the sector and, as an institute, I want us to shape the next chapter. 

Initially that might be about imminent funding challenges, including working with MHCLG to find funding solutions, but our policy focus will continue to be trained on the long term. 

Cladding Removal Fund  

This new fund reflects the impacts of Grenfell, and will meet the cost for unsafe, non-ACM cladding on residential buildings that are 18 metres and over and do not comply with building regulations. This £1bn fund is predominately targeted at supporting leaseholders in the private sector. However it is also available for buildings owned by providers in the social sector where a CFO declaration may be required in some cases.  

Funding for track and trace 

Tom Riordan, CEO at Leeds City Council, launched the Local Outbreak Control Plans and shared the £300m funding announcement. These control plans will be produced by directors of public health within upper tier local authorities. However, as there is likely to be a spike in activity, CFOs will need to be aware of the requirement to build capacity.  

Local authorities have been told they will be central to supporting the new test and trace service across England, with the government providing a new funding package of £300 million. Each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with the local NHS and other stakeholders. The Department of Health and Social Care will allocate funding to local authorities in England, working with MHCLG on the allocation formula. The funding is ring-fenced for this specific purpose. 

Here at CIPFA, our partnership with Xantura can incorporate track and trace data feeds into the platform, providing a local view on potential hotspots and where additional safety measures should be taken. 

For more information, visit our website or contact: John.O'Halloran@cipfa.org

Update from the networks 

Pensions Network 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ltd vs Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

In a landmark verdict, the court ruled in favour of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in a legal case which has set a significant precedent for local decision making for local government pension funds. The ruling has significant implications on the level of intervention allowed by central government on how local government pension schemes invest their funds. 

Find out more. 

Scottish Financial Advisory Network 

Treasury and Capital Management Update

CIPFA’s Treasury and Capital Management Panel have also issued CIPFA Bulletin 04 with general guidance to complement the Prudential and Treasury Management Codes. It also includes guidance in response to challenges raised by COVID-19.

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.

  • How to be an effective leader in a crisis. Watch here.

Upcoming webinars

The fraud implications of COVID-19 - 4 June 2020 at 11:00am

As in any crisis, fraudsters will be making the most of COVID-19 to take advantage of those who are seeking help. As public sector finance professionals, we must do everything we can to prevent fraud and mitigate against it occurring again in the future. In a continuation of a previous fraud webinar focused on the impact of COVID-19, CIPFA's Head of Counter Fraud Policy and Strategy Laura Hough and Neil Green from the Government Internal Audit Agency provide an updated perspective two months into the pandemic. Those who attend will hear about current fraud risks, and what public sector professionals should expect to see as the crisis continues. 

Register for this webinar here.

COVID-19 advice 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: Coronavirus: 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

Rob Whiteman
Chief Executive, CIPFA


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