CIPFA launches its updated Whole Systems Approach and new online portal


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, has today launched its updated Whole Systems Approach (WSA) to Public Financial Management (PFM), and to support the WSA, CIPFA has developed a new online portal that provides critical information and links to other sources of guidance and tools to help organisations deliver excellent public finances.

First released in 2010, CIPFA’s WSA has helped organisations around the world improve their approach to PFM. The draft of the updated version, on which the consultation was launched at CIPFA’s Annual Conference in Manchester, has been revised to reflect the latest in best practice, changes in other international frameworks and CIPFA’s significant experience in supporting PFM reforms.

In addition to the consultation on the updated WSA publication, CIPFA has also launched its new portal, which uniquely covers all the constituent parts of the WSA, something that has not been done before by any other organisation. The Developing Excellent Public Finance (DEPF) portal brings together explanatory information and links to relevant guidance covering the three main areas that are fundamental to strong PFM. These are:

  •  governance
  •  external PFM elements (including legislation, standards, tranparency and scrutiny)
  •  internal PFM elements (including strategy and planning, budget execution and performance monitoring)
  •  use of accrual-based information at all stages is crucial to the effective operation of all these.

Ian Carruthers, CIPFA’s Standards Chair, who launched the updated WSA and the new portal, commented:

“The CIPFA WSA brings all the key elements of PFM that are necessary for strong governance together. The updated version will offer up-to-date support for organisations that are aiming to strengthen their PFM systems and processes in order to boost their outputs delivery and outcomes achievement.

“The accompanying portal provides explanation and links to further information and tools to help improve PFM around the world. It is very exciting that CIPFA has pulled together all the relevant PFM information and literature in one online portal.”




More information


The updated WSA to PFM


CIPFA published its original WSA to PFM in 2010. This was developed with the assistance of funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). 


CIPFA’s updated document takes its thinking forward in the light of the Institute’s practical experience in supporting PFM reforms in the intervening period. In particular, it is consistent with the thinking in the latest version of CIPFA’s ground-breaking Financial Management (FM) Model, released in 2016, which is increasingly being used globally as an assessment and benchmarking tool. 


Both this document and the revised FM Model also reflect developments in a number of other international frameworks and guidance. 


Delivering Excellent Public Finance (DEPF) portal


CIPFA has developed the online Developing Excellent Public Finance (DEPF) portal, in order to bring together explanations of the key elements of PFM, and links to various international sources of information and tools that can support reform design. The portal allows users to:


  • consider what PFM is in its widest sense
  • look at what is covered in CIPFA’s Whole System Approach to PFM and other international frameworks
  • provide access to guidance and tools that will  help consideration of jurisdictional-specific issues and PFM reform design.


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