Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance


Thursday 17 October: Public Finance Live – Northern Ireland 2019

N Ireland Conference 2019


Welcome to the 2019 CIPFA Northern Ireland Conference from:

William Crawley – Conference Chair 

Catherine McFarland, Chair of CIPFA Northern Ireland 
Carolyn Williamson, CIPFA President


Plenary Sessions


Keynote Address: The Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance

A reflection on her short time in post and key priorities for finance professionals and her department going forward.

Sue Gray – Permanent Secretary, Department of Finance


Decision Making in a Political Vacuum 

These are undoubtedly challenging times for the NI civil service governing in the absence of the power-sharing executive. This session will outline how this has affected policy decisions, including Brexit preparations and negotiations.

Richard Pengelly – Permanent Secretary, Department of Health


National Treasure – Scottish Government Performance Framework

With the implementation of the Northern Ireland programme for government stalled due to the lack of an assembly, this session looks at how Scotland has taken forward it’s National Performance Framework (NPF).

The Scottish NPF has been hailed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as the most developed outcomes-based approach by any government in the world.

Tim Ellis –  Scottish Government


Refreshments and Exhibition


Plenary Sessions


AI, Data, Disruption and Opportunities

We all accept that the pace of change is getting quicker. We can see that in our high streets, where one in five UK retail transactions are now online. This session looks at the potential for big data developments, automation and its impact on service delivery, efficiency and the public finances.

Dr Alistair McKinley – Chief Technology Officer, Analytics Engines


Making Prevention an Investment

In the current financial climate, the need to make an economic case for investing in public health prevention is stronger than ever. There is a growing body of evidence which demonstrates that most preventative investments are cost-effective, meaning they generate a better outcome than the next best alternative use of resources.

This session looks at the work of Public Health England and CIPFA in evaluating preventative investments and the vital role the finance professional will play in that.

Scott Mahony – Public Health England

12.10  Lunch and Exhibition


Break out workshops






Transparency & information

The Finance Team at Northern Ireland Water were shortlisted for their achievements on financial reporting and accountability at the Public Finance awards 2019. This session looks at how the success was achieved and what outcomes have been obtained

Ronan Larkin – NI Water

Making Participatory Budgeting Work 

This session introduces Participatory Budgeting, an innovative engagement and resource allocation tool where local people deliberate and decide how to allocate part of a public budget. Learn more about PB, hear about international and local good practice and participate in an interactive PB simulation exercise. What role you can play in making PB work for NI?

Dr Louise O’Kane, PB Works, Community Places

Making Partnerships Work

Partnerships are key to delivering effective outcomes across government – a good practice guide from the NIAO.

Neil Gray, NIAO


Managing a City Deal – Planning and Collaboration

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) cuts across local, NI and UK Governments to deliver an integrated programme of investment that will deliver a step change in inclusive economic growth and productivity that will benefit all communities. In this session we will learn how collaborative working is being managed and how financial decisions are made to coordinate the success of this significant project.

Ronan Cregan, Belfast City Council  


Brexit – Taking Stock of the current position

As we approach the 31 October many are hoping that greater clarity will be seen in the potential for any deal to leave the EU, and/or any extension to the UK exit sought. Northern Ireland is a key issue in the resolution of the current impasse and our speaker will provide the latest insight into the way forward and potential impact on the economy and public services.

Professor David Phinnemore, Queen’s University, Belfast


Refreshments and Exhibition


Break out workshops






Performance Tracking
This session looks at cross government performance tracking using the CIPFA/IfG performance tracker. What are the key lessons and how can this information support policy development and drive better decisions.

Graham Atkins – Institute for Government

Financial Resilience

Sponsored by:

Oracle logo

Clare will be providing an insight into the UK Central Government best practice finance processes, the underlying global design principles and an overview of their recently published finance strategy. Clare will explain how Oracle’s Modern Best Practice fits with this strategy.  

Clare D'Agostino, Business Development Manager, Oracle

Property Asset Management - The essential introduction so you can ask the difficult questions to your property colleagues

CIPFA property will talk through some of the current and critical areas when it comes to property asset management in the public sector. This session will provide an essential introduction to:

The ‘corporate landlord’ approach

Why property information is important

Asset challenge

Why you should be at least slightly interested in maintenance

Investing in property

Office rationalisation and ‘modern ways of working’

Impact of buildings to service and wellbeing – why your opinion matters

Setting out with a map

Developing your skills and making a contribution towards service outcomes


Final Motivational Session



Ever wondered how to get grater engagement from your most valuable assets, you staff? This session provides insights into the cutting edge engage and growth programme that aims to achieve a fully engaged workforce, strong positive culture, enthusiastic employees and subsequent improved outcomes and results.

Claire Loftus – Evolve

16.45 Public Finance Awards


Close of Conference –
Catherine McFarland, Chair CIPFA NI Branch


Drinks Reception and networking 

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Lunch and Exhibition