Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England - Practitioners Guide 2019
On the Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG, the body responsible for determining 'proper practices' for accounting and governance in England) has published the 2018 edition of Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England (The Practitioner's Guide).
Councils can prepare their Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for 2017/18 in accordance with either the 2017 or the 2018 edition. The main change of substance is clarification on how councils should account for Community Infrastructure Levy.
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2020 edition of the Practitioners' Guide (England)
The 2020 edition of Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England (the 'Practitioners' Guide') has been published and is available at [link]. The only substantive change to proper practices is to the definition of 'staff costs' (Line 4 of Section 2 of the AGAR) in paragraph 2.16. Note that neither the 2019 version of paragraph 2.16 nor the 2020 version accords with what HMRC considers to be staff costs and that neither version of paragraph 2.16 gives any guidance as to tax treatment.
In preparing the 2019/20 accounts RFOs can use either the 2019 or the 2020 edition of the PG. Whichever edition is used last year's figures in the AGAR must be stated (headed 'restated' if necessary) on the same basis as this year's figures. No explanation of any difference with the figures in last year's AGAR is required.
We understand that the 2020 PG may be amended to reflect the extended audit and publication deadlines for 2020. RFOs should in any case be aware of the extended deadlines.