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On Wednesday, sixth form students from Leicester and the surrounding area were given the opportunity to manage a council for the day.
Playing the roles of the management team, the students were put in charge of a fictitious local authority, Emmstone Borough Council. The game is a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) team management exercise and is one of six taking place throughout the Midlands this summer.
The winning team came from Caroline Chrisholm School in Northampton. Other participating schools were Countesthorpe College from Leicester, Montsaye Academy from Rothwell, Solihull School and the City of Leicester College.
The all-day event was hosted at De Montfort University, Leicester and throughout the day management teams had to content with representations from their local MP, an angry Trade Union Official inquisitive reporters from the local press. If this was not enough of a challenge, they had to achieve a balanced budget - with the significant cuts required – to continue to provide services with reduced levels of funding.
Commenting on the day, one student said, “It gave us a real insight into what it could be like working in the public sector”
Other students commented on how the game had challenged them whilst being enjoyable at the same time.
CIPFA volunteers who work in local public services were on hand to guide the students and were very impressed by the composure of the sixth formers under significant pressure and the standard of work that they produced throughout the day.
Kelly Watson, the lead volunteer said:
“This CIPFA management game is a brilliant opportunity for local students to understand the way our public finances are managed and the difficulties our finance teams have in making choices between competing and often equally important priorities. The students involved today really threw themselves in to the game, they remained engaged throughout and hopefully will have taken much away from the game that will be useful for their future careers and general development. This country needs the best managers to be running our local authorities and other public sector organisations and perhaps some of these young people are the public sector finance directors of the future.”
The game, devised and run by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), is intended to help fill a gap in Business Studies courses, which tend to concentrate on commercial activities and often do not cover the public sector in any way.