Research and Analytics

Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) 2020/21

The CIPFA Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) replaced the previous Best Value Accounting Code of Practice (BVACOP). SeRCOP applies to all local authority services throughout the United Kingdom from 1 April 2020 for the preparation of 2020/21 Budgets and Performance Indicators.

SeRCOP is reviewed annually to ensure that it develops in line with the needs of modern local government, Transparency, Best Value and public services reform. This is increasingly important as Transparency initiatives are expected to become more sophisticated and to evolve constantly.

In England and Wales, SeRCOP is given legislative backing by regulations which identify the accounting practices it propounds as proper practices under the Local Government Act 2003. In Scotland, the requirement to follow SeRCOP’s Service Expenditure Analysis is specified in the Code. This is supported in legislation by the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 requirement to follow proper accounting practices. In Northern Ireland, the Service Expenditure Analysis is required under Section 127 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 and the Department of the Environment’s Accounts Direction.

SeRCOP establishes proper practices with regard to consistent financial reporting for services. It is an official CIPFA statement – all local authorities in the United Kingdom are expected to adopt its requirements and detailed recommendations. It is also expected that CIPFA members will comply with all the discretionary requirements of SeRCOP as it defines best practice in terms of financial reporting.

The full version of SeRCOP is available to purchase either as a hard copy or as an online version from the CIPFA Shop.

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