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Sixth form students from across the Midlands took over management of the fictional NHS Trust, West Rummidge & Saltwell, in an exercise that provided a taster of the challenges and tension of running an NHS trust.
Taking place at the University of Staffordshire, the game was a CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) team management exercise and is one of a series taking place throughout the Midlands this summer.
During the day, the management teams faced a visit from their local MP, an angry trade union official and a call from officials at the Treasury monitoring their plans. All while managing the day job of achieving a balanced budget and maintaining services, against a backdrop of severe cuts and a reduced level of resources.
The winner of the event was a team from Newcastle-under-Lyme College.
Commenting on the event, one student said:
“Physics is my passion. I have always found government, politics, economics and finance a little dull and so my expectations of the day weren’t that high. But today has been great, one of the best and most enjoyable learning experiences of my education. It was very challenging and well run. It has changed my perception of accountants and the political decision-making process and made me realise there is more to life than physics!
“It was fantastic to win the game but everyone has learnt something today. The game highlighted the type of decisions that accountants in the public sector have to make and how their decisions affect our local services and people’s lives. I now realise that public finance is far more than just working with numbers.”
Students and qualified CIPFA accountants were on hand to guide the sixth form students and were impressed by their composure and the standard of work that they produced.
Mark Lovell, the lead volunteer for this game, said:
“This CIPFA management game is an excellent experience for local students to understand the ways that our public finances are managed and the difficulties that our finance teams have in choosing between competing and often equally important priorities.
“The students involved today were very focused and remained engaged throughout the day. Hopefully they have taken skills away from the game that will be useful for their future careers and general development.
“This country needs the best managers to be running our local authorities and other public services and perhaps some of these young people are the public sector finance directors of the future.”
The game, devised and run by CIPFA, is intended to help fill a gap in business studies courses, which tend to concentrate on commercial activities and often do not cover the public sector in any way.
Notes to Editors:
Contact: Emma Page
CIPFA Press Office
T: +44 (0)20 7543 5787
Photographs of the winning team and other students are available on request. Please contact the CIPFA press office.
The event took place on Wednesday 28 June 2017, at the University of Staffordshire in Stoke on Trent and the five teams that took part in the exercise were: