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The theme of this year’s CIPFA Northern Ireland Annual Conference in Belfast on 11 October is entitled ‘Towards Public Service Outcomes: A Public Finance Vision’. The backdrop for this year’s event could be summed up in one word: uncertainty. Public services in Northern Ireland don’t have certainty on long term funding, we don’t have certainly on the outcome of Brexit (at the time of writing) and we don’t have the certainty of political decision-making at our assembly and executive.
However, as Tennessee Williams said ‘There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go’. As public finance professionals know, uncertainty can be an opportunity to set a new path. That path must lead to better outcomes for our citizens and that must be achieved with less resources and a greater need to collaborate and find innovative solutions to service delivery.
That new path will need to depart from the existing ways of doing things and focus our attention and resources on clear measures of outcome delivery across government and the wider public sector. The conference format has been designed to ensure that all delegates attending the 2018 CIPFA Northern Ireland conference can map their own personal conference journey.
Catherine McFarland, CIPFA Branch Chair in Northern Ireland, commented, ‘the conference will explore the key issues unpinning that departure ranging from the outcomes planning, the future workforce and the sustainability of our service delivery. If you recognise the need to change our thinking in the face of uncertainty, we hope you to see you at the conference, where you will enjoy the opportunity to network with a wide range of colleagues involved in public services’.