new CIPFA president calls for new focus on levels of spending and investment in public services


The Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy’s (CIPFA) new President, Chris Bilsland, has said that it is time to stop fixating on cuts and debt in isolation, and instead focus on creating the right level of spending and investment in public services to maintain international competitiveness.

He made the call in a speech at CIPFA’s Annual Conference, in Birmingham on 6 July 2011.

Mr Bilsland argued argue that:

‘We must not get fixated by public spending and debt in isolation. We need the right level of spending and investment in public services to maintain our international competitiveness.  Because without that, economic development and prosperity will surely be fatally compromised’,

Other conference speakers include:

  • Richard Koo - Chief Economist, Nomura Research Institute, who will outline his view that the UK and USA have not learned lessons from Japan's prolonged recession
  • Paul Johnson - Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, who will provide analysis of the UK’s public finances
  • Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Philip Blond - author of the Red Tory, who will comment on the potential of the Big Society
  • Toby Young - journalist who led project to establish the West London Free School

The conference is taking place from 5 to 7 July 2011 at Birmingham ICC.  Interviews with speakers, including Chris Bilsland, are available on request as is a full copy of his speech.


Contact: Lindsay Machin / Chloe Forbes
CIPFA Press Office
t 020 7543 /5645/5787
e /

Notes to Editors:

CIPFA annual conference 2011 will explore the full consequences of the spending cuts as a new public services landscape begins to take shape. Featuring world-class speakers, practical workshops and networking opportunities, the conference is this year’s essential event for people who manage public money and public services. Journalists should contact the CIPFA Press Office to register to attend and to organize interviews with speakers.

2. Chris Bilsland - Vice-President 2010/2011 and to be CIPFA President from 5 July 2011

Mr Bilsland was appointed as Chamberlain of the City of London in February 2007.


The Chamberlain is the Corporation’s director of finance and treasurer.  He is its financial adviser, accountant, receiver and paymaster being responsible for the Corporation’s local and private/trust funds.  In addition, he is the Corporation’s banker. He is responsible for making arrangements for the investment of Corporation and other funds and is one of the three official trustees.

The Chamberlain’s post dates back to 1237 and Chris is the 79th Chamberlain in an unbroken line.  There are important and interesting historic, civic and ceremonial responsibilities.  This includes admitting persons to the Freedom of the City and being responsible for the liaison, advice and guidance to livery companies on matters of protocol, procedure, ceremony and governance.


Mr Bilsland joined local government in 1972 at Doncaster and qualified as a CIPFA accountant in 1976.  After working at Derby as Chief Auditor he then joined Deloitte Haskins and Sells in 1982

He re-joined local government in 1987 at Hampshire County Council with a particular brief on business planning. That position also led to some interesting assignments, including being appointed as an Adviser to the States of Guernsey

Mr Bilsland was appointed County Treasurer at Somerset in 1991 and held that post until it was abolished in 2004 and he was reappointed as Corporate Director of Resources with responsibilities including Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Property, Customer Services and Contract Services.

In that time he led some particularly important corporate projects, including the Somerset Waste Project – the first flexible public: private partnership in the waste sector.

As the County Council’s Equality Champion, he led the County Council to Level 3 of the Equality Standard

He has previously been a lead financial adviser to the Local Government Association, representing County Council interests, and is a past President of the Society of County Treasurers.

Mr Bilsland has always been active on professional matters, initially from being a CIPFA examiner and has now been an elected member of CIPFA Council for the last 10 years.

3. About CIPFA

CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.