This year’s public finance conference will address the key issues the UK faces in overcoming the widely acknowledged malaise and sense of alienation dividing communities which became all too evident in the Brexit vote.

In the wake of the referendum result and consequent uncertain economic forecast the government is committed to investing in skills, infrastructure to support local growth and a new housing agenda, with a specific commitment to regions beyond the south east and city devolution centres.

To address the perennial issue of low productivity it will be essential to improve standards of education and training, from primary to tertiary and vocational, to ensure that businesses have access to the skills and talents they need to prosper.

As health and social care costs go through the roof, plans that are based on the needs of local populations, local health and care systems are coming together to deliver Sustainability and Transformation Plans across England, will they be able to drive genuine and sustainable transformation in health outcomes for the longer-term?

We ask top economists, policy makers and public service leaders: what are the key ingredients that will deliver the opportunities prosperity and places which the people of the UK deserve?


Wednesday 12 July

Please note that all speakers, content and timings are subject to change

08.30 – 09.15 Registration

09.15 – 09.30 President’s welcome

Speaker: Andrew Burns, Director of Finance and Resources, Staffordshire County Council and President, CIPFA


Chair: Samira Ahmed, Journalist and Broadcaster

Speakers: Philip Collins, Chief Leader Writer and columnist, The Times

Andrew Lilico, Director and Principal, Europe Economics

Grace Blakeley, IPPR North

The EU referendum result exposed deep divisions across the country, similar rifts are evident in Europe and the USA. Echoing Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal, Prime Minister Theresa May has responded by calling for a more cohesive society and inclusive economy.

The UK is entering a period of negotiation with the EU that will determine the direction not just of the economy but the very nature of its relationship with the rest of the world and its own citizens. The outcome of those negotiations will determine the sustainability of many public services which depend on both healthy public finances and an available pool of labour. Striking the right balance in those negotiations will be critical.

Critical to the success of that ambition will be the extent to which the UK adopts a new inclusive approach to economic and regional development: combining economic development with social action, growing productivity and building social capital for communities to prosper with shared norms and values.

Topics covered: social cohesion, economic development, productivity

10.40 – 11.20 Coffee and networking in the exhibition hall


Chair: Samira Ahmed, Journalist and Broadcaster

Speakers: Jim Mackey, CEO, NHS Improvement

Niall Dickson, CEO, NHS Confederation

In January 2016, across England, local health and care systems came together in 44 groupings to deliver plans based on the needs of local populations. The health and care organisations within these geographic footprints are working together to develop sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), which will help drive genuine and sustainable transformation in patient experience and health outcomes over the longer term. What will be required across the NHS-local authority divide to make place-based planning a reality and achieve financial balance for the NHS?

Topics covered: STPs, placed base planning


12.15-13.00 Lunchtime Workshop – Early Closedown

Chair: Victoria Barnard, Consultant, CIPFA

Speakers: David Smith, EY

Sanjay Sharma, Interim Head of Finance, Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council

This session will look at the pressures facing accounts closedown teams in 2017/18 and consider how authorities can change their approaches to free up valuable staff time from the process.  We’ll report on the experiences of users of the CIPFA Closedown system in 2016/17, and talk about how the system is expected to develop over the next couple of years.  The session will also cover the further support available from CIPFA and Ernst & Young.

13.30 – 14.30 Concurrent workshops 1A-1E – Choose one special interest concurrent session

WORKSHOP 1A Embedding Corporate Performance Management into your Medium Term Financial Planning

Sponsored by: Unit 4


Chair: TBA

Speakers: Phil Beaumont, Unit 4

Alison Scott, Assistant Director, Policy and Technical, CIPFA

CIPFA recently published the paper “Looking Forward –  Medium-term financial strategies in the UK public sector.” This paper identifies that financial planning is one element of effective public financial management along with budget preparation, performance management and stakeholder reporting.

The session will demonstrate the benefits for public organizations of using performance management tools to support medium term financial planning, including:

  • The integration of strategic planning, risk management and budgeting
  • The benefits of integrated reporting on financial information and other data sources

Examples from the areas such as Social Services and Education will be used to illustrate the challenges and the potential benefits.


Sponsored by: Advanced


Chair: Sean Hanson, Chief Executive, Local Partnerships

Speakers: Steve Mawson, Chief Financial Officer from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Steve Willetts, Local Government Business Development Manager, Advanced

David Atkinson, Local Government Account Director, Advanced

You can win the war on public sector waste and inefficiency by collaborating more closely inside and outside of your organisation using shared services. If you re-imagine the way you work with digital and mobile technologies, you can integrate your back-office systems and transform your front-office capabilities. By thinking differently you can create a truly connected organisation, delivering savings and demonstrable efficiencies.

In this session we will outline real-life examples of integrated councils and ‘blue light’ services who are saving millions of pounds, and delivering more for less, by using shared services. These case studies demonstrate that shared services is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution – but rather an individual and tailored approach to drive economies of scale.

WORKSHOP 1C Commercialism – a risky business?

Sponsored by: Zurich Municipal


Chair: Andrew Burns, Director of Finance and Resources, Staffordshire County Council and President CIPFA

Speakers: Alix Bedford, Strategic Risk Consultant,  Zurich Municipal

Mike Britch, Group Managing Director, NPS Group

Sarah Pearson, Strategic Risk Practice Leader, Zurich Municipal

Helen Dobby, Group Manager for Commercial Services, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council

Public bodies and social infrastructure are transforming beyond recognition. The dramatic changes in funding since 2010 and the move towards fiscal self-reliance have created a new entity, the social enterprise.

Local authorities and other public bodies have always generated income; car parking and leisure centres have, for example, delivered well needed funds. But now there is a massive surge in commercialism, running social businesses, and the risks and challenges multiply.

In this session we will look at what it means to be a commercial organisation, drawing on Zurich’s experience of managing the risks of multi nationals and large corporate entities. What does risk in the commercial enterprise look like, from start up to expansion?  And we’ll discuss both uninsurable and insurable risk.

Join us for a journey into your future as social enterprises.





Presented by: C.Co

Chair: Paul Woolston, Vice Chairman, CIPFA

Speakers: Richard Harrison, Managing Director, CIPFA C.Co

Ian McGrady, Managing Director, EdSential (a school traded services ASDV)

Andy Moran, Commercial Director, City of Wolverhampton Council (MJ Council of the year 2017)

Alternative Service Delivery Vehicles are not a magic bullet but when applied in response to local insight, using robust methods, they can help to tackle some of the pressures currently experienced by local authorities: reducing budgets, increasing costs, changing demand, increasing competition and market fragmentation. This session will explore the drivers, considerations, processes, and good practice for setting up an ASDV.  It offers practical advice that you can apply to your own unique circumstance to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Education traded services will be used as a topical case study from a rapidly changing market.

WORKSHOP 1E Changing role of the finance professional

Sponsored by: Workday

Chair: Brendan McCarron, CIPFA

Speakers: Paul Clarke, Head of Finance, London Borough of Barnet
Roger Ermuth, Assistant Comptroller General, Canada
Mark Nittler, Vice President, Workday
Betty Sturgeon, Deputy Director, People and Capability, Government Finance Academy

Finance professionals are working on a greater variety of activities as service provision becomes more complicated.
The finance function of the future will be defined by flexibility and adaptive process, increasing levels of automation and real-time reporting, exponentially more data available will demand skills in predictive analytics. Finance will be at the centre of organisational performance and to deliver will mean responding to transformational pressures and in public services an entirely new level of entrepreneurship and commercialism.

14.30 – 15.10 Coffee and networking in the exhibition hall

15.10 – 16.10 Concurrent workshops 1F-1J – CHOOSE ONE SPECIAL INTEREST CONCURRENT SESSION

Workshop 1F Integration, from plans to implementation

Sponsored by: Oracle


Chair: Nick Jackson, Oracle


Julian Baker, Director, National Collaborative Commissioning

Shane Mills, NHS Wales

Andrew Hardingham, Plymouth City Council

It is widely agreed – as reflected in CIPFA’s recent briefing Reality Check – that STPs provide a logical means of planning for the whole health and social care system on a more unified and long term basis.  However relatively few of those plans have yet reached a stage at which they inspire confidence that the full £22bn savings required by the Five Year forward View will be delivered. This workshop, then, will ask: what can be done to improve the chances of delivery? Topics up for discussion will cover areas of challenge such as the culture of joint working, governance, preventative investment, models of transformation, capital investment and contingency planning.

WORKSHOP 1G Society of District Council Treasurers Workshop 2017

Chair: Norma Atlay, President, Society District Council Treasurers

Speakers: Lisa Quinn, Capita Asset Services.
Guy Clifton, Grant Thornton
Philip Monaghan, Grant Thornton

This workshop from the Society of District Council Treasurers will look at current issues of particular concern to District Council Finance professionals. Indicative subjects include an update on 100% retention of Business Rates, Devolution implications, Commercialisation of the CFO, Housing and Homelessness issues and emerging implications from the Brexit negotiations.

Workshop 1H One Public Estate

Chair: David Bentley

Speakers: Craig Egglestone, Local Government Association Programme Manager,  One Public Estate
Andrew Pollard, Managing Director, Place Partnership
Murray Carr, Director of Land and Property, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

One Public Estate (OPE) is a joint programme delivered in partnership with the Government Property Unit and the Local Government Association. It delivers ambitious, property-based projects in collaboration with central government departments, local councils and wider public sector partners.

The programme supports local economic growth through; creation of jobs, releasing land for housing, raising millions in capital receipts and cutting running costs. But, how does it work in practice? Using first hand experience from two OPE partnerships, the session will explore how OPE funding is helping to support the transformation of the public sector estate across the country, unlocking wider benefits for local communities and improving local services. The session will also share some of the lessons learnt so far and explore the future vision for the programme.

WORKSHOP 1I Resilience, risk and resourcefulness

Chair: Pete Moore BA, FCPFA, Executive Director of Finance and Public Protection, Lincolnshire County Council

Speakers: Sean Nolan, Director Local Government, CIPFA

Polly Simpson, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Local government faces three key challenges. Firstly, the continuing effects of austerity from cuts in government funding in the face of rising cost pressures. Secondly, the need to be more self-sufficient in their resources. Thirdly, the positive and proactive desire of local leaders to drive economic regeneration and community well-being for the better of their local communities.

We look at the risks ahead, and how councils can respond to ensure their resilience including how they can minimise losses to business rate revenue from fraud.

WORKSHOP 1J People, Pounds, Pavements and Professors  – Transforming the Finance Function

Sponsored by: Technology One


Chair: to be announced

Speakers: Lee Hamill, Deputy Director of Finance, University of Edinburgh

Dez Sellin-Mcwatters, Presales Consultant, Technology One

Dave Stewart, Senior Pre-sales Consultant, Technology One

The public sector finance function has long been handicapped by a lack of tools to do the job effectively. Silo’d software, legacy technologies and a lack of workflow and reporting capabilities across the various systems are major inhibitors. Add that to continued catch cries of continued austerity yet increased service requirements make the Finance professional’s life difficult to say the least.

If it was simply a matter of “balancing the books” then life might be tolerable but the modern finance professional is responsible for the management information across all key areas of the business – from people to pavements.

Lee Hamill won the newcomer of the year at the 2017 Public Finance Innovation Awards. Since arriving at Edinburgh University by way of a private sector career that included working in BT where among his responsibilities was managing the finance function and commercial operations of their London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games infrastructure delivery and sponsorship programme.

Lee will address what the appropriate systems and processes are to underpin the modern finance function alongside the communications and inspiring leadership it takes to bring all that together.

Technology One will cover the premise that modern, cloud based systems are a key enabler to transforming the Finance Function. Fully integrated HR, Payroll, Finance and Asset Management solutions really are the answer in managing people, pounds and pavements.



Chair: Samira Ahmed, Journalist and Broadcaster

Speakers: Mike Blackburn OBE, Chair, Manchester LEP

Vicky Pryce, Board member Centre for Economics and Business Research, former Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Chief economist at KPMG

The government is committed to boost productivity by investing in human capital. As part of this, it is committed to developing vocational skills, and to increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships.

To address the perennial issue of low productivity it will be essential to improve standards of education and training, from primary to tertiary and vocational, to ensure that businesses have access to the skills and talents they need to prosper. How will government nationally and locally ensure young people receive guidance and support to take full advantage of education, training and employment opportunities? And, for those who are unemployed, how do we develop more effective approaches to supporting people back into work?

Topics covered: education skills productivity growth

18.00 – 20.00 Conference drinks reception

Sponsored by: Grant Thornton


Please join us along with delegates, sponsors and exhibitors for the official conference drinks reception.

Venue: Revolucion de Cuba

Address: 11 Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5QR