Ethical standards in health


As we have seen recently in the press, NHS finance representatives have highlighted how accounting firms were parachuted into NHS bodies to 'moderate prudence'.

This has been reflected in the concerns raised by CIPFA members across the health sector regarding the external pressure which is being placed on them by NHS England and regulators. Among their number are members who have been involved in the transaction reviews over year end 2015/16 and those who are struggling to sign up to control targets for 2016/17. 

We are concerned about both the level of pressure this is placing on CFOs, audit committees and boards and the lack of confidence this displays in sector professionals. In addition, we understand the reviews undertaken by the accountancy firms may be used to make adjustments to the overall DH accounts, moving them away from reporting the true cost of delivering the service.

As an institute we are keen to provide support to members and all accountants working across the public sector. Rob Whiteman will be writing personally to CIPFA directors of finance working in health providers and CCGs setting out our support processes and providing an opportunity for members to come forward with further information to support our planned discussions with health regulators.

Professional accountants are bound by ethical standards and guidelines which instruct on ways of working but also provide guidance and support in difficult situations. CIPFA’s Code of Ethics (PDF, 569 KB) provides the overall framework and is supported by the shorter Ethics and You (PDF, 200 KB) document. All member support documents are available on the CIPFA website under the membership handbook section.

Finally, the Institute is keen to support members directly by providing support and guidance on ethical issues. Members working in health who wish to speak to someone at the Institute on a confidential basis should contact E: in the first instance.    

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