CIPFA Northern Ireland Annual Conference: Programme

5-6 October 2017, Belfast

Northern Ireland Conference

Join the discussion: #CIPFA17NI

Speakers and full programme and timings to be confirmed. The information below is currently indicative.

Thursday 5 October: conference launch and evening events

16.30 Conference registration and coffee
17.00 Accountability and Outcomes
Kieran Donnelly, NIAO 


Public Policy Debate

Slugger O'Toole and Friends


Drinks reception


Conference dinner, networking and awards:

  • NI Public Finance Professional of the Year 2017
  • NI Public Finance Team of the Year 2017
  • NI Finance Innovation 2017

After dinner speaker



Friday 6 October: main conference day


Coffee and refreshments

9.30 –9.50

Morning welcome and reflections

  • Andrew Burns, CIPFA President
  • Geoffrey Crossey, Chair of the Northern Ireland Branch of CIPFA 

9.50 –10.10

Keynote Address

The Permanent Secretary will offer his take on the current climate and the challenges awaiting finance professionals in Northern Ireland.

Hugh Widdis, interim Permanent Secretary, Department of Finance Northern Ireland

10.10 -10.40

Brexit – The impact on our public services

A debate on the challenges and opportunities faced by local public services in the wake of triggering Article 50 and the UK leaving the EU.

Speakers: Paul Gosling, writer, public speaker, broadcaster and researcher; Dr Gordon Marnoch, Reader in Public Policy, Institute for Research in Social Sciences

10.40 –11.10

Student stream

Career development track

This is a focus on development of skills for furthering your career in finance. What people look for in finance leadership (from a HR or recruitment specialist).

Speaker: Az Ahmed and Anthony Lewis, Penna


Public service stream

Citizen-centred approaches to public services

Service pressures and efficiency demands mean there is a need to consider different approaches to service delivery and policy development. Get an outline of how services can be delivered in an environment where sectoral boundaries become secondary to the needs of the citizen.


Innovation stream

Implementing a local fiscal framework

A session to look at the process of implementing a successful devolved government fiscal framework and the lessons to be learnt.

Speaker: Scottish Government TBC


Technology stream

Artificial intelligence: priceless or perilous?

The fourth industrial revolution challenge is upon us and may make Brexit seem like a picnic. This session looks at how health, finance, energy, transport, government and society will be disrupted by accelerations in emerging technologies.

Speaker: Steve Orr, Director, Connect at Catalyst Inc


Refreshments and exhibition.

11.40 –12.10

Rebalancing the relationship between citizen and state

This session will look at the core affordability issues of our current welfare and health systems. Should the core principles of personal responsibility be encapsulated into a modern and reshaped service provision in Northern Ireland that recognises long-term affordability to the state and even co-payment for services or an extended role for the third and private sectors in service provision?

Speaker: Helen Howson, Director, Bevan Commission and Bevan Academy

12.10 –12.30

Student stream

Career development interactive workshop

Drawing on lessons from the previous workshop, this interactive session will give you the chance to put your career skills to work.

Speaker: Az Ahmed and Anthony Lewis, Penna


Public service stream

To be confirmed


Innovation stream

To be confirmed


Technology stream

To be confirmed

12.30 –13.00

Evaluating and driving innovation – Public Sector Innovation Labs

A session examining the benefits and successes of government innovation labs, their aims and how ideas can be shared and developed.

Speaker: Professor Andrew Walters, Director of Research, PDR


Lunch and exhibition

14.00 –14.30

Systems not structures: changing health and social care – the future shape of health and social care in Northern Ireland

This session reviews the outcomes from the work emanating from the Bengoa report and looks at digital transformation in the area of health and social care. This is the single biggest aspect of public spending in Northern Ireland and one that is set to grow significantly unless the future challenges are addressed.

Speaker: Louise McMahon, Executive Director, Health and Social Care Board

14.30 –15.00

Public service stream

Actively delivering good governance in Northern Ireland

Actively delivering good governance in Northern Ireland

Winners of the Public Finance Award for Good Governance, Belfast City Council will tell the story of the success of their Super Connected programme and the good governance lessons that were learnt.

John-Paul McGonigle, Belfast City Council


Innovation stream

Budgeting and planning for outcomes

This session explores the issues and opportunities presented by planning and budgeting in support of outcomes.

Speaker: David Brindley, CIPFA


Technology stream

Big data and digital public services

Experiences from using big data in public serves from Scotland.


Refreshment break

15.30 –16.00

Student stream

Process re-engineering - thinking outside the box

An innovation topic, looking at cost to serve and error tracking for productivity and performance improvement.

Speaker: Alan Bermingham, Policy and Technical Manager, CIPFA


Public service stream

To be confirmed


Innovation stream

To be confirmed


Technology stream

To be confirmed


View from the touchline – team work

Dundalk became the talk of European football as a remarkable run ended with them on the cusp of playing the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United in the Champions League last season. Representatives from the club will tell inspirational stories on the nurturing talent and building effective teams that punch well above their weight.

Speaker: Stephen Kenny, Manager, Dundalk FC


Close of conference

The above timings, sessions and speakers are indicative and we reserve the right to amend or cancel at any time.