CIPFA Calls for Enhanced Governance and Accountability in UK Public Sector


Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) calls for a transformative overhaul of governance standards and support mechanisms in the UK public sector. In a response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s consultation, CIPFA highlights the urgent need for decisive action to bolster accountability and restore public trust.

As we face a general election, standards in public life continue to be a key concern for all citizens. CIPFA calls on all public bodies to safeguard stability with a particular focus on:

Governance failures: Root causes of governance failures include dysfunctional relationships between senior officers and elected representatives, insufficient seniority among key officers, and political cycle constraints.

CIPFA emphasises the need for local authorities to confront these issues head-on. It advocates for empowered internal mechanisms such as audit committees and scrutiny, supported with robust training and resources.

Ethical standards: The Nolan Principles must be integrated across all aspects of public sector governance, underpinning member codes of conduct and professional standards.

CIPFA’s guidance on Delivering Good Governance in Local Government offer a framework for embedding ethical standards.

Data-driven risk management: CIPFA’s Financial Resilience Index and the Prudential Code for Capital Finance enables public bodies to analyse risks, model scenarios, and make informed decisions. Effective data usage further requires overcoming barriers such as outdated IT systems and ensuring data privacy and interconnectivity.

Trust, transparency and effective oversight: Senior officers and elected representatives should receive comprehensive support and training in order to foster a culture where any concerns can be safely raised. A strong standards regime, combined with peer support and mentoring, is crucial to counteract pressures and promote continuous improvement.

Likewise, CIPFA calls for greater transparency in public decision-making. Engaging the public in budget and financial strategy consultations enhances understanding and trust.

Diana Melville, CIPFA Governance Advisor, said:

“At a time when public trust in service delivery is fragile, compounded by budget constraints and rising demand, a targeted focus on governance and accountability is essential. Through our guidance, CIPFA encourages a culture of transparency, integrity and accountability.

“Ensuring good governance and harnessing data-driven risk management is needed now more than ever. Backed by public sector finance experts, these initiatives provide the stability that local government needs to guide itself through the incoming period of political change.”

CIPFA is here to help and has further guidance to support public sector professionals. Please get in touch for more information.

Notes to editor

  1. Spokesperson available for interview
  2. Read CIPFA’s response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s consultation, Accountability within public bodies – acting on early warning signs
  3. For more information, please contact the CIPFA Press Office at

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