Annual Governance Leadership Conference

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Event summary

Breaking the Mould: Improving Outcomes

As we approach conference this year, it is difficult to recall a time when we faced more profound uncertainty: political instability, unprecedented pressure on public services, a changing relationship with citizens, cyber insecurity, budget constraints, and a smaller civil service – all in the context of Brexit.

Members of NI Public Sector Chairs' Forum and the Chief Executives Forum can book at the discounted price of £145. Please enter the code 'FORUM17' in the discount code box (NB this is a number of screens along in the booking process).

For corporate, multiple block bookings please contact our customer services team.


30 November 2017
Starts: 09:00
Ends: 17:00


Riddel Hall
185 Stranmilis Road
[See map]

Standard price

£195.00 excl VAT

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About this event

Chief Executives Forum NI Public Sector Chairs' Forum

This event is in partnership with NI Public Sector Chairs' Forum and the Chief Executives Forum.

The Programme for Government tasks us with improving outcomes, and therefore the need for new solutions, bold leadership and effective governance has never been greater. It is clear that the status quo is no longer best for serving the needs of our communities. In this context, conference this year will focus on exploring these issues and the emerging practical actions we take as we seek to 'break the mould' and deliver better outcomes for our citizens.

Conference objectives

  • Hear from key leaders about the strategic context of change, specifically focusing on how we move to an outcomes approach, defined in the Programme for Government and Community Planning.
  • Take time to consider the issues and support leaders to shape change in their own organisations and across Northern Ireland.
  • Share good practice and learn from others.
  • Build consensus across public sector leaders on the priorities for action.

Who should attend

This event will be of interest to chairs, board members, chief executives, senior executives, governance professionals, business and third sector leaders and those involved in progressing good governance and leadership in public bodies.

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  • Governance

Download programme schedule

Leadership and Governance Programme 2017PDF 430.79 KB

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Speaker - Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General, Northern Ireland

Kieran Donnelly

Kieran was appointed to the post of comptroller and auditor general in September 2009 and has been on the Audit Office Senior Management Team since 1997. His previous posts included head of value for money audit and head of financial audit. Kieran is a member of CIPFA and over the years has worked on a wide range of public reports on governance topics.

Speaker - Kirsty Bashforth, Consultant, Quayfive/NHS Improvement

Kirsty Bashford

Kirsty is founder and CEO of QuayFive Ltd, a non-executive director of Kier Group plc & Serco Group plc, a governor of Leeds Beckett University and Ashville College and a columnist for Harper’s Bazaar. Kirsty has spent 24 years at BP plc pursuing a career in commercial leadership, operations and organisational dynamics, working in UK, US, Denmark and Belgium.

She specialises in advising and equipping senior teams to improve performance through effective focus on alignment, motivation, commitment and innovation across their organisation. She is an organisational dynamics troubleshooter using behavioural economics as the core philosophy in change management.

Speaker - David McBurney Coordinator of the Northern Ireland Open Government Network

David McBurney

David has a D Phil & BA Hons Degree from the University of Ulster, and before joining the NI Open Government Network, he worked for 25 years in media training and project management. He is interested in politics, economics and democratic innovation, and he is an advocate for open government and deliberative citizen engagement.

Speaker - David Sterling, interim Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS)

David Sterling

David joined the Northern Ireland Civil service in 1978 and spent the early part of his career in the Police Authority for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Office. He was transferred to Central Finance Group in the Department of Finance and Personnel in early 2000 and served in Supply Division and Central Expenditure Division. In this latter role he was responsible for coordinating public expenditure planning across the Northern Ireland departments. He was promoted to deputy secretary in January 2003 and transferred to the Department for Regional Development. As Senior Finance Director he had responsibility for DRD’s resources and management services. David transferred to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in March 2008 where he led the Department's Policy Group. He was appointed as Permanent Secretary of the Department on 5 October 2009. While in DETI he oversaw the implementation of a major review of economic policy in Northern Ireland and the development of the Executive’s 2012-2016 Economic Strategy. He also led the implementation of a number of major attractions and events including the development of Titanic Belfast, the hosting of the 2012 Irish Open Golf Championship and the 2014 Grande Partenza of the Grio d’Italia. In 2013 he chaired the NI Executive’s G8 Summit Steering Group. David transferred to the Department of Finance and Personnel on 1 July 2014 where he led the Department through a three year period during which the NICS was restructured from 12 departments down to nine, the Civil Service reduced in size by around 17% and the Executives’ budget was subject to constant pressures. Despite these difficulties the Department expanded its provision of shared services to the rest of the public sector and there was an acceleration in the programme of digitalising public services.