Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Telling the story: improving the presentation of local authority financial statements

24-07-2015

Note: this consultation closed on 9 October 2015

The Telling the Story consultation has been developed as a part of a range of solutions which CIPFA and CIPFA/LASAAC have been developing over the last couple of years to both streamline the financial statements and improve their accessibility to users. CIPFA and CIPFA/LASAAC have been working to try and move forward the simplification work; publishing Financial Statements; A Good Practice Guide for Local Authorities and updating How to Tell the Story that together assist CFOs in removing clutter and explaining the IFRS based accounts.

The consultation sets out proposals for change that CIPFA/LASAAC considers will reconnect the financial statements of local authorities with the way those authorities are both organised and funded. The consultation also seeks views on whether the proposals being brought forward represent the preferred option for change.

The proposals being brought forward have two key strands:

  • to allow local authorities to report on the same basis they are organised by breaking the formal link between the Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) and the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement (CIES)
  • to introduce a new Funding Analysis as part of the narrative report which provides a direct reconciliation between the way local authorities are funded and budget and the CIES in a way that is accessible to the lay-reader

This funding analysis would be supported by a streamlined Movement in Reserves Statement (MiRS) and replace the current segmental reporting note.

These are vitally important proposals for the development of the Code and the effectiveness of local authority financial reporting and in the demonstration of accountability and effective the stewardship of the substantial economic resources used by local authorities. CIPFA/LASAAC therefore needs feedback from accounts preparers and other key stakeholders to ensure that the proposals meet the needs of local authorities.

The ITC and exposure draft of Telling the Story consultation

The Invitation to Comment summarises the proposed changes to the code. Where CIPFA/LASAAC is interested in specific issues, consultation questions have been included in the ITC. However, CIPFA/LASAAC welcomes comments on any aspect of the Telling the Story Consultation. In order to assess comments properly CIPFA/LASAAC respondents are asked to support comments with clear accounting reasons and, where applicable, preferred alternatives. Respondents are asked to use this RESPONSE SHEET (Word, 105 KB) to respond to the consultation and so speed up the analysis.

Consultation on the 2016/17 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom

CIPFA/LASAAC has also issued the consultation on the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the code). A number of the changes to the code proposed in ED1 emanate from the main consultation.