CIPFA board

Biographies of the members of the CIPFA Board, chaired by the President.

Brian Roberts, Chair

Brian RobertsBrian is the Director of Corporate Resources and Deputy Chief Executive at Leicestershire County Council. Previously he has worked at Staffordshire County Council, Hampshire County Council, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Hart District Council and Merseyside County Council.

Brian qualified as an accountant in 1980. He was a member and past President of the Society of County Treasurers and he has also been an LGA Core Finance Advisor and past President of the Association of Local Government Treasurers. Brian is currently a national Council Member and Vice President of CIPFA and a trustee of the Centre for Public Scrutiny.

Paul Woolston, Vice Chair

Woolston, PaulPaul Woolston was born in Sunderland. He studied Politics at Warwick University and has an MBSc from Manchester Business School.

Paul is Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), a post which he has held for four years. During this time Paul has championed the Northeast nationally and globally, and is a strong advocate for the important contribution that regional universities make to the economic prosperity of the Northeast. 

As former Senior Partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP (PwC), Paul’s expertise is in the public sector, focusing on high-visibility issues such as health, local government and education. Paul continues to be closely involved with the business community and government, here in the Northeast, nationally and internationally.

Paul is Chairman of Middleton Enterprises, whose goal is to help promote economic growth in the Northeast by investing in SMEs.

Paul is a lay canon at Newcastle Cathedral.

In July 2015 Paul was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business from Sunderland University.

Andrew Burns, Vice Chair, Council

Andrew BurnsAndrew Burns is the Director of Finance and Resources for Staffordshire County Council with strategic responsibility for Finance, HR, ICT, Digital, Property, Commercial and Customer Services and is Treasurer of the Staffordshire Pension Fund.

Andrew led the financial transformation programme that delivered £150m savings, significant service improvement and enabled Staffordshire County Council to set the lowest council tax for any county council in 2014.

He was elected to CIPFA Council in 2010 and has chaired Group Board, Policy & Standards Board and CIPFA’s Aligning Public Services Working Group. He is also immediate Past-President of the Society of County Treasurer’s.

Sarah Howard, Junior Vice President

Sarah HowardSarah is a partner and Head of Public Sector at Grant Thornton. Sarah’s passion for the sector and strong support for CIPFA has seen Grant Thornton become the largest UK recruiter of CIPFA students and the first firm to launch the CIPFA apprenticeship scheme and adopt the new Integrated Qualification. 

Sarah spends much of her time between the north of England and London, leading the firm’s public sector assurance and advisory practice. Sarah has been lucky to work with a variety of clients over the last 25 years, seeing most recently the devolution changes across Greater Manchester first hand. Previously Sarah was a partner at RSM Robson Rhodes, and before that was with the Audit Commission in Bristol and Yorkshire.

Sarah has been an active volunteer for CIPFA over much of her career, as an Examiner, Regional Executive member and as an elected Council member. Sarah’s volunteering efforts have been recognised by the Institute through both the Dr Hedley Marshall Award for outstanding contribution to regional activities and the Tom Sowerby Award for outstanding services to CIPFA students.

John Matheson, Past President

John Matheson

After graduating from Heriot Watt University, John joined NHS Scotland as a National Finance Trainee in 1976. He qualified with CIPFA and then joined NHS Lothian, undertaking various roles before becoming Director of Finance in one of the trusts in 1981, progressing through various finance director roles and obtaining a MBA from Edinburgh University, before becoming Director of Finance for NHS Lothian in 2001. He moved to Scottish Government in 2008 as Director of Finance for NHS Scotland where his responsibilities also include eHealth and Pharmacy.

He has a strong commitment to CIPFA in both a voluntary capacity and as a Council member over a number of years. John was Chair of the Scottish Branch in 1999 and has been a Council member for the past six years and chaired the International Strategy Board from 2011–2014.

He has undertaken non-executive roles across both public and private sectors and has presented at a number of international conferences on a range of current issues.

Andrew Flanagan, NED

Flanagan, AndrewAndrew Flanagan is Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority and is a Civil Service Commissioner. He also holds a number of other non-executive appointments including Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of the NHS Business Services Authority, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and CIPFA Business Services Ltd. Until March, 2013, he was Chief Executive of the NSPCC, the leading UK children’s charity. Previously, Andrew was Chief Executive of SMG plc, one of the UK's leading media companies, with interests spanning television, radio and print. A chartered accountant, Andrew has also held a number of senior finance roles in the media, IT and telecommunications sectors.

Dawn Johnson, NED

Johnson, DawnDawn Johnson joined CIPFA as a Non-Executive Director in December 2009 and also sits on the Group Audit committee.

Prior to this she spent over 20 years in financial services working for Woolwich plc as Managing Director of Woolwich IFA Services Limited, and following the takeover by Barclays Bank plc in 1999, as Sales Director responsible for the bank's combined regulated sales forces, their training and competence regime and performance. 

Dawn has been involved in non-executive work on boards and audit committees for over ten years and currently has roles with Trinity House, the Northern Ireland Office and Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a B.Sc (joint honours) in mathematics and statistics, Dawn began her career as a graduate entry in the insurance world, where she subsequently qualified as an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a diploma holder with the Personal Finance Society.

Mark Thomson, NED

Thomson, MarkMark Thomson was appointed Director General, HM Passport Office in April 2015. On 24 August, Mark also became Registrar General for England and Wales. Since then he has been leading and implementing HM Passport Office’s modernisation programme.

Before joining the civil service, Mark had spent his entire career at Royal Mail, where he held a variety of managing director roles. His early career was in sales and marketing and he also spent several years as Sales & Customer Services Director. 

Mark was the commercial lead for the Royal Mail/Post Office separation and transformation into a FTSE 100 company, before taking on the role of Managing Director International in 2011. He has been a Non-Executive Director with CIPFA since February 2013, having previously held a non-executive role with the former UK Border Agency.

Mark is also a qualified coach and a member of both Cambridge and Oxford Universities alumni networks.

Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive

Rob WhitemanRob Whiteman was appointed as the Chief Executive of CIPFA in September 2013. Before joining the Institute, he was a senior civil servant who worked as the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency and had previously led the Improvement & Development Agency. Between 2005 and 2010 Whiteman was CEO of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Prior to this role, he was Director of Resources at the London Borough of Lewisham.

Whiteman is a well-known commentator and writer on public service reform and modernisation, on a wide range of areas such as leadership, partnership working across local and central government, and building community cohesion. In 2008 he was named one of the ten most influential people in local government by the Local Government Chronicle. In 2007 and 2009 he carried out the Capability Reviews of the Department of Health for the Cabinet Office.

Graduating with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Government from the University of Essex, Whiteman started his management career at WH Smith plc, before moving into the public sector. An accountant by profession, he has held several local government finance advisory roles for the Local Government Association and CIPFA, and for many years served as Secretary to the Society of London Treasurers.

Peter Woodman, Director, Finance and Performance

Woodman, PeterPeter Woodman is responsible for all CIPFA’s financial and facilities operations, having been appointed as Chief Financial Officer in February 2014. As CIPFA’s longest serving member of staff, Peter brings over 35 years of organisational knowledge and experience, alongside his over 20 years of post-qualification experience, having qualified with ACCA in 1994 and becoming a CIPFA member in 1999, and experience of both not-for-profit and commercial financial operations. He most recently successfully managed CIPFA’s London property project, which led to the sale of its three London properties, and simultaneous purchase and refurbishment of CIPFA’s new Mansell Street HQ. 


Ex-officio members

Ian Ball, Chair, CIPFA International

Ian BallIan Ball is working with the Institute on its global growth and development. He is the former Chief Executive of the International Federation of Accountants, and led IFAC from 2002 to 2013. In 2009, he oversaw the publication of the first comprehensive suite of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Prior to joining IFAC, Ian worked in his native New Zealand, where he oversaw the modernisation of public sector management practices. He is a member of CIPFA and also a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and of CPA Australia.

Ian Carruthers, Chair, CIPFA Standards

Carruthers, IanIan Carruthers became chair of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) in January 2016, having served as a member since 2010.


As a member, he led the IPSASB’s work on long-term financial sustainability and alignment between IPSASs and Government Finance Statistics.


After joining HM Treasury from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1999, Mr Carruthers played a key role in the UK government’s transition from cash to accrual budgeting and reporting, in particular leading its Whole of Government Accounts program.


In 2006, he joined the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), which promotes and supports improvements in public financial management and governance across the public services globally, as well as setting financial management and reporting standards for local government in the UK.


As part-time Chair, CIPFA Standards, his role encompasses all these aspects of the Institute’s activities, and he has led its work on the role of the public services CFO, as well as the development of the International Framework for Good Governance in the Public Sector with IFAC.

Alan Edwards, Chair, CIPFA Development

Edwards, AlanAlan Edwards joined CIPFA in 2011. He has spent most of his career as a management consultant supporting the public sector, having been a partner at PwC, KPMG and IBM. He trained as an accountant in local government in the UK and has long been an active CIPFA member, including having been an elected member of its council.

He is an experienced public sector board member and formerly Chairman of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and an Independent Member of the Board of the UK National Policing Improvement Agency.