by Don Peebles, Head of CIPFA Policy & Technical UK
In the last year the world has changed beyond recognition. As we all navigate our way through local lockdowns and proposed circuit breakers we now have the prospect of a digital Christmas, all designed to help to tackle the pandemic. With different measures being taken across the four nations of the UK, there is no better time to explore the specific issues facing the recovery of the public sector in Scotland.
The key elements to recovery are likely to be refinancing the economy, regeneration of Scotland's public services, a re-focus on the role of people, place and our assets – as well as embracing Scotland's new-found digital transformation. Public financial management will be central to our success in all these areas.
To support Scotland's frontline public service leaders in the spirit of safety and sustainability, CIPFA is hosting a week of webinars from 23 to 27 November to begin to plot the economic and public service recovery.
Scotland's Collective Challenge: Planning Scotland's Post-Pandemic Public Services will welcome Ben Macpherson, Minister for Public Finance and Migration, to deliver a keynote address, updating practitioners with the government's view on the Scottish economy and the challenges facing us all. This not to be missed scene setter will lead into five key areas for debate with our packed programme of speakers:
- Public service resilience
- Good financial management
- The economy
- Modern investment in Scotland's future
- Public service people.
Overall, Scotland's Collective Challenge will provide delegates with an opportunity to listen and engage with a host of speakers on a broad variety of pressing issues.
For example, COVID-19 has fundamentally shifted how we deliver finance and audit services and has reset expectations of what is possible in our wider public services. Pre-COVID-19, who would have thought we could build a hospital in three weeks? Jill Young, Chief Executive, NHS Louisa Jordan will share what can be done while tackling a pandemic.
At no other time have we been required to place greater faith in our politicians, trusting them with the health of the population and rebuilding the economy while facing the prospect of a no deal Brexit. Kezia Dugdale, former leader of the Labour party in Scotland, will speak on the report conducted by the John Smith Trust on Trusting Politicians.
All this and more awaits delegates at the end of the month. Don't miss out – join us from 23–27 November at CIPFA Scotland's first ever all-digital webinar series.