Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Emergency proposals for an update of the 2021/22 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom and the 2022/23 Code

03-02-2022

This consultation is now closed. If you have any further queries about the consultation, please contact policy.technical@cipfa.org.

CIPFA LASAAC has issued an exceptional consultation on time limited changes to the code to help alleviate delays to the publication of audited financial statements. Only 9% of local authority accounts in England met the audit publication deadline of 30 September 2021.

The consultation period will be four weeks, meaning it will close at 23.00 on Thursday 3 March 2022. Please note that timescales for any possible changes arising from this consultation are very short. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to add any extensions to this date due to its exceptional nature.

In December 2021, the Department of Levelling-up Housing and Communities asked CIPFA LASAAC to consider ways in which the code may ameliorate this crisis position. CIPFA LASAAC considered this request and has issued this exceptional consultation, which explores two possible changes that might be made as an update to the 2021/22 code and to the agreed position in the 2022/23 code.

After considering a wide range of options CIPFA LASAAC decided to explore two approaches:

  • an adaptation to the code to allow local authorities to pause professional valuations for operational property, plant and equipment for a period of up to two years (though the initial proposal is for the 2021/22 financial year); this approach also explores the use of an index to be used to increase or reduce that valuation
  • deferring the implementation of IFRS 16 Leases for a further year and reversing the planned changes to the 2022/23 code to implement that standard.

The consultation also shows the wide range of options that CIPFA LASAAC considered, which includes some which the board considered were outside of its terms of reference.

The Invitation to Comment (ITC) summarises the possible changes to the code. The exposure draft which presents the changes is included in Annex One to the ITC. Information on the options considered by CIPFA/LASAAC is provided in Annex Two.

Interested parties are invited to provide responses to questions in the ITC, preferably in electronic format. Where CIPFA/LASAAC is interested in specific issues, consultation questions have been included in the ITC. In order to assess responses properly CIPFA/LASAAC would prefer respondents to support comments with clear accounting reasons and, where applicable, explanations of practical effects.

Interested parties are also invited to provide any other information or issues they consider relevant to the timeliness of the publication of audited financial statements in local government.

The consultation documents are below:

For information please find a copy of the presentation on the Exceptional consultation on time-limited changes to the Code given at the webinars on the 10 and 21 of February 2022.