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CIPFA attended and supported this year’s Government Finance and Internal Audit Event held in Birmingham. A number of you visited our stand to find out more about some of our new initiatives on offer, such as the finance business partnering certificate and the new accelerated programme for executives.
We also had a good turnout on the first day as Nigel Barr and Andrew Baigent, Finance Director at the Department of Health, talked through the challenge of achieving tough targets through open book accounting. These two consecutive sessions explored open book accounting as a commercial arrangement where service providers share information on contract costs and profits with their client, allowing the introduction of incentives to deliver efficiencies.
Chris O’Neill, Head of Business Development at CIPFA, presented the awards for the best finance team of the year to the Financial Reporting & Accounting Team, DCLG and
Independent Living Funds, Scotland – so a big congratulations again from CIPFA.
Gillian Fawcett, Head of CIPFA's Governments Faculty, also provided an update for members on Institute activities both in the UK and internationally. Following this we held an open discussion with members and students seeking insights about what support they would like from CIPFA in the future in terms of events and thought leadership.
It was a busy day for Gillian as she went on to participate in a debate on whether the three lines of defence (3LoD) model is essential for effective working between government internal audit and finance functions. Gillian defended the model whereas Anthony Garnett, Head of Internal Audit from DfID, argued for change.
Jo Rowley, Professional Practice Director, GIAA, chaired the session. The motion for the debate raised some interesting questions and provoked a lively debate around the alternate approaches that might be adopted in place of 3LoD. For instance, risk management normally is strongest when there are three separate and clearly identified lines of defence. However, the use of the 3LoD to understand the system of internal control and risk management should not be regarded as an automatic guarantee of success. All three lines need to work effectively with each other and with the audit committee in order to create the right conditions. The motion stood to support the model on both occasions when the workshop was run although there was some collateral damage on the way.
The CIPFA team enjoyed the event and in particular meeting members and students from across central government. We would like to congratulate the Government Finance Team for putting on such a high quality and topical event.