Producing time series comparable to 2020-21 LFRs: guidance note

Guidance on producing time series with service-level Local Financial Returns (LFR) data from 2011-12 to 2020-21.


The Local Financial Returns (LFRs) are a series of detailed returns that collect final, audited financial data for all councils, Valuation Joint Boards (VJBs), Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) and the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board on an annual basis. More information on the LFRs, including the latest blank return and guidance for completion, is available on the Scottish Government website.

Scotland level data captured by the LFRs is summarised within the Scottish Local Government Finance Statistics (SLGFS) publication. Workbooks for each LFR, containing detailed local authority level data, have been published alongside the SLGFS from 2017-18 onwards. At present, workbooks for LFRs prior to 2017-18 must be requested from

The 2020-21 SLGFS and associated excel files contain the following tables which provide comparable Scotland-level revenue figures from 2016-17 to 2020-21:

  • Publication Tables, Table 2.2: Net revenue expenditure by service
  • Additional Analysis - Revenue, Tables E, F & G: Gross service expenditure, gross service income and net revenue expenditure by subservice

However, users of the LFRs may wish to produce time series at local authority level or for longer time periods.

This document has been produced to support users of the LFRs / SLGFS to produce comparable time series. In particular, it sets out the adjustments that must be made to key figures in service-level LFR workbooks from 2011-12 to 2019-20 to ensure they are comparable to the equivalent figures in the 2020-21 LFRs.

The adjustments described in this document can be applied to LFR 00 and all service-level LFRs, that is LFRs which collect revenue expenditure and income figures for services provided by local authorities. Service-level LFRs are:

  • LFR 01: Education
  • LFR 02: Culture & Related Services
  • LFR 03: Social Work
  • LFR 05: Roads & Transport
  • LFR 06: Environmental Services
  • LFR 07: Building, Planning & Development
  • LFR 09: Central Services
  • LFR 20: Non-HRA Housing
  • LFR SS: Support Services (introduced in 2017-18)

All the LFRs covered by this document present figures on a funding basis and in cash terms. All year references in this document refer to the relevant financial year, for example 2020-21 refers to the year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.


If you have any questions on the information in this document or on the LFRs more generally, please email

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