Inaugural CIPFA CfGS Councillors’ Conference

Posted on 31/07/2018 by Fiona Corcoran.

Join CIPFA and the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny at the House of Commons on 13 September for our inaugural councillors’ conference.

Council finances are at the top of everyone’s agenda at the moment. Our focus on them is not just about the need to avoid high profile failures as has happened in Northamptonshire – the financial challenge affects us all, in different ways.

We have all been dealing with increased financial constraints since 2010 (and in some cases before) but in the next couple of years, the pace of change will accelerate. Councillors need to be aware of – and be actively part of the oversight for – these changes. This includes the new regime for business rates, the pressures of effective treasury management and the need to have the finances in place to continue to deliver sustainable local services – particularly in demand-led areas such as adult social care. Scrutiny has a critical role to play in ensuring that councils have realistic plans that take account of their financial constraints and challenges.

Join us on 13 September (start time: 11:15 end time: 15:15) to discuss these big issues with your fellow scrutiny councillors and to contribute to discussions which include:

  • Lord Bob Kerslake, Chair of CfGS and former Head of the Home Civil Service;
  • Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive of CIPFA;
  • Carolyn Williamson, Deputy Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council

And many more experts in the field.  

Click here to book.


Conference Programme

10.45 – 11.15 Coffee and Registration

11.15 – 11.40 Welcome and opening address CIPFA Chief Executive

Rob Whiteman will welcome delegates to the first CIPFA conference dedicated to Councillors. He will reflect on the current challenges facing local government, the vital role of Councillors and recent research and analysis from CIPFA on public policy and finance. Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive CIPFA

11.40 – 12.20  How to Support Local Ambitions and Build a Sustainable Legacy

Councils and councillors have a range of strategic goals for their local area, including supporting the economy, regeneration, regulatory baselines and other policy focused areas, such as affordable housing or social care. Planning for these activities longer term is key to ensuring all is delivered in a deliberate, orderly and financially resilient way. But to make these outcomes a reality councillors need to have sight and an understanding of the risks and opportunities being faced and have confidence in the council finances and other performance data backing up their decisions. This session will highlight what good might look like both in terms of the process to follow, the questions to ask and, most importantly, the need for a positive and constructive relationship between council officers and Members. Lord Bob Kerslake, Chair of the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny Carolyn Williamson, CIPFA Vice President Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources Hampshire County Council


12.20 – 13.00 2018 All Change : Investment Governance and Regulation Revamp

Councillors are responsible for the effective and prudent management of the public purse and 2018 has seen a range of new responsibilities and expectations placed upon them following changes in the investment regulatory framework. This panel session will outline some key elements of investment governance and risk management. How can such areas best support and underpin the effective scrutiny of investment decision making for Councillors. Victoria Worsfold, Guildford Borough Council Dr Bob Swarup, Camdor Global Roy Nolan, R.P. Martin

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

After lunch there will be time to visit the CIPFA exhibition featuring further details of resources to support Councillors in their role.

14.00 – 14.25 Commercial contracts and providers – a blessing or a curse?
Local Authorities delivering services directly to residents is very different and distinct to managing commercial third party contracts. Walter will explore the impact commercial contracts can have on service delivery, value-for-money and public perception. He will outline risks and opportunities of 3rd party relationships and share what drives good commercial behaviour. Councillors play an essential role in building an effective commercial culture and Walter will share some examples on how such an outcome is often achieved. Walter Akers, Partner, RSM Risk Assurance Services LLP

14.25 – 14.50 How to Maintain Public Trust and Confidence

The governance responsibilities of councillors mean that open decision making and accountability are key to maintaining public trust and confidence in the council. This session will focus on how ethics, public reporting, audit and audit committees provide support for good governance in the council. Diana Melville, Lead advisor, CIPFA Better Governance Forum

14.50 – 15.15 How to Conduct Scrutiny for Council Success

Active scrutiny provides the opportunity to improve the Council’s strategy and decision making. A speaker from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny will talk about the building blocks of effective financial scrutiny, and the practical steps necessary to ensure that it adds value, forming an integral part of the council’s internal and external assurance on finances and the budget. Ed Hammond, Director, Centre for Governance and Scrutiny

15.15 Event Close 

An opportunity to network on the balcony of the Houses of Parliament overlooking the Thames with some refreshments.

The facilitator for this event will be Cliff Dalton, Head of CIPFA Advisory Networks. We reserve the right to alter the timing or content of sessions where circumstances require.