CIPFAs code passes muster

24 Feb 00
Local authorities breathed a sigh of relief this week as the government endorsed CIPFA's Best Value Accounting Code, accepting the argument that self-regulation is preferable to secondary legislation.

25 February 2000

The code provides a framework for local authorities to demonstrate they are delivering Best Value. Endorsement by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions means the government will not use the legislative powers available to it to regulate the keeping of accounts.

Local government minister Hilary Armstrong said the 'positive approach' of the code had persuaded her not to exercise these powers. 'We will monitor its introduction to ensure that it achieves its objectives and will review this decision following CIPFA's own review of the code later in the year,' she said.

CIPFA chief executive Steve Freer said the code would give people confidence in the financial information published by their local authority. 'It will help authorities to improve the delivery of local services by providing better cost information which can be reviewed, compared and challenged at a much more detailed level.'

The code offers guidance on the maintenance and disclosure of trading accounts; the treatment of partnership arrangements; and the definition of 'total cost'.

Costs are to be split into two categories – corporate management and democratic representation and management. The latter will make controversial issues, such as councillor expenses, more transparent.


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