About our Council officers

Biographies for the honorary officers on the CIPFA Institute Council

President – Sarah Howard

Sarah is a partner and head of public sector at Grant Thornton.  Sarah’s passion for the sector and strong support for CIPFA has seen Grant Thornton become the largest UK recruiter of CIPFA students and the first firm to launch the CIPFA Apprenticeship Scheme and adopt the new Integrated Qualification. 

Sarah spends much of her time between the north of England and London, leading the firm’s public sector assurance and advisory practice. Sarah has been lucky to work with a variety of clients over the last 25 years, seeing most recently the devolution changes across Greater Manchester first hand. Previously, Sarah was a partner at RSM Robson Rhodes, and before that was with the Audit Commission in Bristol and Yorkshire.

Sarah has been an active volunteer for CIPFA over much of her career, as an examiner, regional executive member and as an elected council member. Sarah’s volunteering efforts have been recognised by the Institute through both the Dr Hedley Marshall Award for outstanding contribution to regional activities and the Tom Sowerby Award for outstanding services to CIPFA students.

Vice President – Carolyn Williamson

Carolyn Williamson is the director of corporate resources for Hampshire County Council and is responsible for the corporate services shared partnership arrangement covering the County Council, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Oxfordshire County Council, which encompasses finance, HR and transactional services to the partners. This is a unique arrangement which operates across the public sector with joint governance arrangements and a cost sharing arrangement to underpin the partnership.

Carolyn is the chief financial officer for Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Pension Fund and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Carolyn is also responsible for Hampshire County Council's IT service and leads on the new digital strategy implementation for the County Council.

Carolyn is CIPFA qualified since 1981. She was presented with the Iain Doig CIPFA award in 2004 for her contribution to CIPFA and was also presented with the CIPFA Public Reporting and Accountability Award for Innovation in 2004. She was chair of LASAAC (Local Authority Scotland Accounts Advisory Committee) and a member of CIPFA/LASAAC until 2005.

Carolyn has been a member of CIPFA Council since 2013 and has held chairmanship roles on the Audit Committee and Students and Members Board, as well as attending CIPFA Council.

Junior Vice President - Andrew Hardy

Andy is chief executive officer of University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), one of the largest tertiary acute trusts in the country, with an annual turnover in excess of £650m.

Andy was appointed CEO in 2010. For the six years prior to that he was chief finance officer of UHCW, as well as deputy chief executive officer from 2008 to 2010. In addition, Andy is currently chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Workforce Action Board (LWAB); a member of Midlands and East Local Education and Training Board; chair of the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network South Membership Innovation Council; a council member of CIPFA and a member of Warwick Medical School Faculty Advisory Board. 

Andy is also a director of Albany Theatre Trust, Coventry. Previously Andy has served as chair of the Finance Directors’ Group of the Association of United Kingdom University Hospitals and in 2014 he was appointed the National President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and his chosen theme for the year was ‘lead by numbers’. In January 2016 Andy was appointed professor of Industry at the University of Warwick. In addition to his CEO role, Andy was appointed as chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire STP Footprint in March 2016.

Past President - Andrew Burns

Andrew Burns is president of CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy; director of finance and resources for Staffordshire County Council (SCC) and chairman of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB). 

He was elected to CIPFA Council in 2010 and has chaired the Group Board, Policy and Standards Board and led CIPFA’s Aligning Public Services Working Group. 

As director of finance and resources for SCC he has strategic responsibility for finance, HR, ICT, digital, property, commercial and customer services and is Treasurer of the Staffordshire Pension Fund. Andy led the financial transformation programme that delivered £150m savings and significant service improvement in Staffordshire.

For his CCAB role Andy takes leadership of the group representing the main UK accountancy bodies, which has a combined membership of over 380,000 professional accountants worldwide. 

He has an MBA from Aston Business School and is Past-President of the Society of County Treasurers.