Northern Irish councils must embrace the opportunities presented by future reform

29-08-2013

Councils in Northern Ireland must grasp the opportunities that reforms in 2015 will bring and not see the challenges of the restructuring as a threat. The comments were made by Stephen Mungavin, Head of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA) in Northern Ireland, while speaking at the CIPFA Northern Ireland Local Government seminar.

In his speech he argued that the 2015 reforms provide an opportunity not only to review what local services are provided, but also to challenge the way they are provided in the future, particularly in a climate of tighter public expenditure.

Stephen Mungavin said:

“While arrangements for the upcoming reforms are strong on process and have robust governance arrangements in place, there is a real need for greater clarity, vision and strategy in planning for the future shape local government.

“The sector needs greater capacity to make changes happen and for a much stronger relationship to exist between central and local government. Only once these reforms are in place will we be able to serve the needs of our citizens in a better way.”

The CIPFA Northern Ireland’s Local Government seminar is being held in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast today and aims to visualise the future of local government in Northern Ireland, in light of the upcoming reforms from Central Government.

The event, run in partnership with Barclays Bank, was officially opened by Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister for Finance and Personnel in the Northern Ireland Assembly and was attended by CIPFA President Jaki Salisbury.

ENDS

Contact: Matt Patterson

CIPFA Press Office

t 0207 543 5787

matthew.patterson@cipfa.org

Notes to Editors:

1)    The Northern Ireland Executive has set a deadline of April 2015 for the 26 councils within Northern Ireland to be reformed and reduced to 11 councils. This reduction in their number will be offset with increased powers over planning, regeneration and community development transferring from Central Government.

2)    At a UK wide level CIPFA is also undertaking a consultation on the future of local government and published a discussion paper on the subject at its UK annual conference in July. Download a copy of the discussion paper.

About CIPFA

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world.

We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.