CIPFA consults on financial management guidance

20 Mar 19

CIPFA is seeking views on guidance to steer local authorities through the “increasingly complex issues of public finance”.

The institute today opened its consultation on a new Financial Management Code, which aims to drive improvement in financial management for all local authorities in the UK.

CIPFA said the guidance builds upon the underlying principles of leadership, accountability, transparency, professional standards, assurance and sustainability.

It is the first time many areas of local government financial management have been codified, after extensive engagement with senior leaders in public finance, CIPFA said.

Carol Culley, deputy chief executive and city treasurer at Manchester City Council, said: “The CIPFA FM Code will support chief financial officers, section 95 officers and section 151 officers in managing the increasingly complex issues of public finance.

“I would strongly urge people to respond to the consultation. The feedback will help shape this into a strong code that provides a proportionate and effective response to the significant challenges being faced by local authorities.”

Don Peebles, head of policy and technical at CIPFA, said: “We are keen to hear from all parties on what will become the new professional standard for local government financial management.

“I’m sure that the CIPFA FM Code has been keenly anticipated and I now look forward to receiving input from the sector.”

Margaret Lee, executive director of corporate and customer services at Essex County Council, said: “Stronger financial management is essential within the sector, particularly where budgets show a consistent use of unplanned reserves, a growth of overspending, and a lack of medium and long term planning.”

This comes after local authorities have shown signs of coming under financial strain, some cutting back their services to ‘core offers’.

Last year, Northamptonshire County Council took the unprecedented moved of issuing two section 114 notices – effectively meaning it was bankrupt.

It decided last month to raise its council tax by 4.99% next financial year, after being allowed to do so by the government.

Usually a council tax increase over 2.99% requires the council to hold a local referendum.  

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