2023/24 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom

ACCA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the CIPFA LASAAC Local Authority Accounting Code Board (CIPFA LASAAC).

The last two years have seen significant economic upheaval as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and military conflict in Ukraine disrupting energy supplies; it seems now only inevitable that the UK economy will experience a period of recession. Users of local authority financial statements will rightly wish to identify the impact of these events on the public purse, while ensuring that those accountable for the disbursement of public funds do not arbitrarily blame these events for adverse financial performance. We strongly recommend that CIPFA LASAAC develops guidance on the disclosure of such major events in a frank, unbiased and factual format.

We were pleased to note the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board’s (IPSASB) recent consultation paper, Advancing Public Sector Sustainability Reporting. We are strongly supportive of international developments in sustainability reporting, and are pleased that to note the extension of sustainability reporting to the UK public sector; it would be a missed opportunity for the UK public sector not to embed this reporting in a manner that allows for citizens to understand the approach adopted by local government. Consistent with our joint response with the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) to the IPSASB on its consultation paper Advancing Public Sector Sustainability Reporting in September 2022, we believe it is appropriate for CIPFA LASAAC to develop guidance in the first instance, consistent with IPSASB pronouncements, with a view to ultimately translating this guidance into authoritative requirements as implementation progresses globally and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards become business-as-usual; an incremental approach would allow reporting practice to mature while encouraging early adoption. We believe that CIPFA LASAAC’s objectives should make specific reference to IPSASB pronouncements, to ensure that UK local authority accounting remains current and internationally consistent.

ACCA stands ready to support CIPFA LASAAC, local authority preparers, and their auditors, in responding to the challenges ahead.

To read the response in full, please download the consultation response document on this page.