The Committee considered a report of the Director of Finance that set out the Council’s proposed accounting policies and critical judgements that were to be adopted to complete the 2021/2022 Statement of Accounts. The report also updated the Committee on the recent consultation and potential impact on the Statement of Accounts for 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.
The Committee’s report outlined the latest consultation that had been issued in February 2022 on the emergency proposals for an update of the 2021/2022 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the UK and the 2022/2023 Code, that may impact the preparation of the 2021/2022 accounts. It also presented the significant accounting policies that would be used in the preparation of the 2021/2022 Statement of Accounts and explained the requirement to disclose the critical judgements made by management when producing the Statement of Accounts.
In December 2021, the Department of Levelling-up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) asked CIPFA/The Local Authority (Scotland) Accounts Advisory Committee (LASAAC) to consider ways in which the Code may ameliorate this crisis position within the sector, regarding the fact that the significant majority (91%) of local bodies had missed the statutory deadline of 30th September 2021 for publication of their audited 2020/2021 accounts (Oldham was not one of the 91%). CIPFA/LASAAC considered this request and had issued this exceptional consultation in February 2022, which explored two possible changes that might be made as an update to the 2021/2022 Code and to the agreed position in the 2022/2023 Code.
After considering a wide range of options CIPFA/LASAAC decided to explore two approaches: Firstly, an adaptation to the Code to allow Local Authorities to pause professional valuations for operational property, plant and equipment (PPE) for a period of up to two years (though the initial proposal is for the 2021/2022 financial year); this approach also explores the use of an index to be used to increase or reduce that valuation. The second approach was to defer 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 lasted for a 4-week period up to 3rd March 2022. The Council had responded to the consultation, details of which were presented at Appendix 3 to the Committee’s report.
The Council’s accounting policies were the specific principles, conventions, rules and practices that were applied in the production and presentation of the annual Statement of Accounts. These policies must be disclosed as a note to the annual accounts. A copy of the policies was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. There had been no changes from the policies used to prepare the 2021/2022 Statement of Accounts.
The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 16 Leasing implementation date was under review due to the consultation that was referred to above. The consultation is proposing that the implementation date be deferred for a further year, with a new proposed start date of 1st April 2023 for preparation of the financial year 2023/2024.
In line with IFRS and the Code, the Council was required to disclose those judgements that management had made in the process of applying the Council’s accounting policies that have the most significant effect on the amounts recognised in the financial statements and these were presented at Appendix 2 to the report.
1. The Committee notes the recent consultation response provided by the Council to the emergency proposals for an update of the 2021/2022 Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the UK and the 2022/23 Code 2).
2. The Committee approves the Council’s proposed accounting policies to be adopted in completing the 2021/22 Statement of Accounts
3. The Committee notes the critical judgements made by management when producing the Statement of Accounts.