Voices

CIPFA's blogs and opinion pieces appear in a variety of news outlets. Take a look at some of our most recent columns.

Why oh why oh why? The highs and lows of fraud investigation

George Clark discusses the mystery of what motivates people to commit fraud. 

17 August 2016 by George Clark

Learning to triumph over adversity: the Wolverhampton experience 

Mark Taylor, Director of Finance at City of Wolverhampton Council, considers how a challenging financial position can be turned around into one of strength. 

8 August 2016 by Mark Taylor 

The changing nature of the S151 role

While the overall goals of the CFO remain the same, the means of achieving them must adapt to an environment with limited resources, argues Leigh Whitehouse, Finance Director, Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames.

29 March 2016 by Leigh Whitehouse 

Local government as a platform – the power to transform 

Local governments provide the perfect platform to innovate and transform public sector services, argues Leigh Whitehouse, CIPFA Council Member.

22 February 2016 by Leigh Whitehouse


Pedestals, perfection and the modern public servant performance expectations in a hypocritical world

Pam Dyson of CIPFA's Sustainability Working Group examines what it takes to be a public servant in a working environment with overwhelmingly high expectations.

18 February 2016 by Pam Dyson



Value at the heart of new NHS conversations

Value based approaches to NHS finances are changing the conversations NHS financial planners are having for the better, argues Mark Redhead, Head of Planning for Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

18 February 2016 by Mark Redhead



Tough at the top

Rob Whiteman considers local authority spending freezes. He argues that, although a last resort, freezes can provide an effective mechanism for keeping a grip on short-term finances and should not be seen as failure.  

Municipal Journal

13 January 2016 by Rob Whiteman



There's gold in that there data

Andrew Burns, Chair of CIPFA's Aligning Public Services Group, argues that data is vital for the public sector to improve its services.

Public Finance

6 January 2016 by Andrew Burns


Who'd be a local government finance director?

Chris West considers what qualities are needed in order to take on the gruelling job of local government finance director.

Public Finance

14 December 2015 by Chris West


Response to spending review

The CIPFA Local Government's Policy panel offer its narrative of the key national policy messages they saw emerging from the 25 November 2015 Spending Review.



11 December 2015 by CIPFA Local Government's Policy Panel


Value creating stories: evaluating and sharing success and failure

Sharing stories of success and failure can help public finance managers to develop skills and identify potential to add value to their work.

Mira Dobovisek, Director, Centre of Excellence in Finance

2 December 2015


A new narrative for government and the public sector

The complex and bleak narrative of austerity is holding back the progress of the government and public sector.

Public Sector Executive

30 November 2015 by Hamza Yusuf


Money Matters 

In the wake of the spending review, Rob Whiteman argues that the government should focus on improving the capability and accountability of financial management, rather than focusing on the oversimplified narrative of spending and deficit.

Municipal Journal

10 November 2015 by Rob Whiteman


The secrecy surrounding right to buy and pension pooling sets a worrying precedent

The government sidestepped public scrutiny in the extension of the right to buy deal. Cameron must embrace transparency in order to regain public trust in politics, argues Rob Whiteman. 

Local Government Chronicle

19 October 2015 by Rob Whiteman


Calculating a positive future: using big data to manage demand and make savings

The private sector technique of predictive risk modelling has the potential to help the public sector manage demand more effectively and improve the targeting of scarce resources.  

Public Finance

11 September 2015 by Hamza Yusuf


Why the Spending Review should herald a new approach to our public finances

The forthcoming Spending Review must focus on outcomes and delivery, and also be the springboard for an honest debate about the very nature of our public sector, argues CIPFA's Rob Whiteman.

Civil Service World

03 September 2015 by Rob Whiteman


Fixing the foundations

The fundamentals of the UK’s public finances have been moving in the wrong direction for a long time. While some have recognised this shift, very few public policy-makers seem to be able to tackle the core challenges we face.

Municipal Journal

12 August 2015 by Rob Whiteman


The centre needs to let go and stop micro-managing

The UK has an enviable record for government financial reporting.  Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) conform to independent international standards so that we don’t just report cash in and payments out every year, but longer-term assets and liabilities as well so that we have a truer accruals accounting picture of our national finances and net worth.  

Civil Service World

05 August 2015 by Rob Whiteman





CFOs should be less tolerant of overspending in the NHS

Increased investment is not the only route to improved performance, a fact that sometimes seems lost within the NHS.

Public Finance

29 July 2015 by Rob Whiteman


Forging a lasting legacy for Generation Y and beyond

All governments come and go and Mr Osborne knows that the current administration has a set time to reshape and refashion our social and fiscal landscape to its liking before the electorate looks elsewhere. I think this means four things for public services.

Municipal Journal

24 July 2015 by Rob Whiteman






Councils should resist calls to drive down reserves

As George Osborne is fond of telling us, the government has ‘a long-term economic plan’. Local government also plans for the long term which is why councils hold reserves to invest for the future or to enable them to respond to unexpected events or emerging needs.

Local Government Chronicle

July 2015 by Rob Whiteman



Bringing finance to the fore

Few understand the complexities of financial management in government better than Chair of CIPFA International, Ian Ball. He tells Adrian Brown about delivering radical reform in his native New Zealand and the enduring importance of new international public-sector accounting standards.

Centre for Public Impact

May 2015


No more political football

Public services need a style of leadership that focuses on spending money well and not the tactical avoidance of savings.

Public Finance

May 2015 by Rob Whiteman


EPSAS: a standards odyssey

The journey to improved government financial reporting across Europe is slow, but progress is being made in the corridors of power in Brussels.

Public Finance International 

April 2015 by Alison Scott


The irony of Greek debt and German demands 

Rob Whiteman, chief executive CIPFA, argues that German demands on Greece’s finances are somewhat insincere.

Global Government Forum

06 April 2015 by Rob Whiteman


Climate for bolder restructuring

During this period of austerity, the government has shown little appetite for radical ideas that seek to adapt and enable local authorities to survive increasing pressures.

The MJ

17 February 2015 by Rob Whiteman


We need a clear plan for the financing and structure of local government

Proposals for reconfiguring the structure of local government abound, but there seems to be precious little agreement on what form and size that should take, still less on the right balance to be struck between organisational scale – hence efficiency – and democratic accountability.

The MJ

09 February, 2015 by Rob Whiteman


Further cuts, alongside political posturing, mean a difficult year ahead

By any standard, 2015 is likely to be a watershed year for UK public managers. There are a number of hazards that can’t be easily avoided. A lack of money, coupled with the likely behaviour of politicians in the runup to an election, threatens to seriously undermine public managers’ roles and to jeopardise their reputation.

The Guardian

06 January 2015 by Rob Whiteman 


The Greek election: a travesty based on a lie

Syriza’s win in the Greek elections has focused global attention on the country’s problematic public finances. But one of the myths about Greece is that is has a debt problem at all.

Public Finance International

26 January 2015 by Ian Ball