CIPFA sets out principles and behaviours for police CFOs


CIPFA is calling on the police sector to ensure CFOs are given a seat at the leadership table in a new publication released today.

Key to the publication is that police CFOs, in their capacity as S151 officers, must have unfettered access to their chief constable to provide advice on financial and governance matters, even where the CFO reports to another role.

The Role of CFOs in Policing sets out five principles that underpin the core activities and behaviours related to the role. The principles set out governance requirements, core responsibilities and the personal skills and professional standards aligned with each principle.

The five principles include:

The chief financial officer to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and/or the chief constable:

  1. is a key member of the leadership team
  2. must be actively involved in, and able to bring influence to bear on, all material business decisions (subject to the operational responsibilities of the chief constable)
  3. must lead the promotion and delivery of good financial management so that public money is safeguarded at all times

To deliver these responsibilities the chief financial officer to the PCC and/or the chief constable must:

  1. ensure that the finance function is resourced to be fit for purpose
  2. be a professionally qualified accountant with suitable experience and ensure professional knowledge is kept current through continuing professional development

Alison Dewhirst, CIPFA Police and Fire Adviser, said: "With resources increasingly scarce, CFOs have an integral role supporting police forces to keep their communities safe and getting best value from the public pound.

"In the changing world of policing, the role of the CFO can be complex, often involving responsibility for other related functions such as IT, HR or transformation. Our statement today supports CFOs in the fulfilment of their duties and highlights the position they must hold in leadership teams to provide the most effective financial advice to PCCs and chief constables."

The publication has also been updated for PCCs who have taken on the governance of their local fire and rescue services.


Notes to editor

  • View The Role of CFOs in Policing in full
  • The Role of CFOs in Policing builds on CIPFA's Statement on the Role of the CFO in Public Services and applies the principles and roles set out in that document to the police sector


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.

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