PF Live Scotland 2022: the future of public sector finance

Public Finance Live Scotland 2022 took place in Glasgow on 21–22 September and was CIPFA’s first in-person conference in Scotland since 2019. It provided delegates with the opportunity to meet face to face and discuss the current challenges and opportunities in public finance.

The conference programme was packed with inspirational speakers dealing with pressing issues and included a broad range of breakout workshops and plenty of opportunities for networking.

Day one

CIPFA Scotland Chair Martin Booth welcomed delegates to the conference. He was followed by CIPFA Past President Mike Driver, who delivered the keynote address and introduced the conference theme – the future of public sector finance.

As well as discussing approaches to tackling today’s critical challenges, the conference was very forward looking. Glasgow City Council’s Kit England argued tenaciously for how accountants can save the world by helping to equip organisations to tackle climate change. The breakout sessions were equally stimulating. On the first day, delegates could choose between sessions focusing on asset management, internal audit, sustainability and fraud and corruption.

Day one of the conference was brought to a close by chief finance officers James Gray and Jonathan Belford (from Police Scotland and Aberdeen City Council respectively), who presented together on their experience of joint working and the benefits that it can bring, such as sharing costs and meeting net zero targets.

On the evening of the first day, there was a conference dinner followed by an awards ceremony and evening entertainment. James Gray won Public Finance Professional of the Year, the Finance Team of the Year award went to Audit Glasgow, and Emerging Talent of the Year was awarded to Sean Deakin from East Renfrewshire Council.

Day two

Day two of the conference started with an address by Clare MacGillivray from Making Rights Real, who spoke movingly about advancing a human rights-based agenda in Scotland. She was followed by CIPFA’s Chief Economist Jeff Matsu, who shared insights from CIPFA’s Investing in regional equality – lessons from four cities report. He was joined by Lauren Bruce, Area Director at Cities and Local Growth Unit, who spoke about levelling up in Scotland. These engaging presentations were followed by a choice of workshops on CIPFA’s Professional Accountancy Qualification, procurement and the capital accounting review.

The afternoon refreshment break provided further networking opportunities and gave participants the chance to share their thoughts on what had been covered in the workshops. After the break, Liz McAreavey from Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce explored how public finance professionals can contribute to building the workforce of the future. Finally, Alice Beveridge relayed tips on tackling stress before Martin Booth closed the conference, thanking everyone for their contributions to a rewarding couple of days.

Overall, the two days were characterised by insight, debate and inspiration. CIPFA is grateful to everyone who attended and made the conference such a great success and looks forward to next year’s Scotland conference.