CIPFA Central Government Conference


Event summary

Playing the long game – preventing a public finance crisis

Since 2010 the public services we all access have had to adjust to a prolonged period of spending reductions. This has been part of a fiscal policy directed towards reducing government spending deficits and ultimately reducing government debt. The problem is that in 2010 there may have been room to reduce spending and deliver the same level of services for less cost. As the easy wins have gone, it arguably becomes progressively harder to find further efficiencies without either a change in the way services are delivered or investment in new and more efficient ways to deliver services, or both.


27 November 2018
Starts: 13:00
Ends: 19:00


Doubletree by Hilton Tower of London
7 Pepys Street
Greater London
[See map]

Standard price

£0.00 excl VAT

*the event has started.

About this event

Finance professionals have a key role in supporting improvements to planning and decision making in Government.  The Finance Profession needs to lead the way in working collaboratively and developing and sharing expertise and skills in support of this across government.  All of which needs to be underpinned by shared and common principles, systems and processes.

Most people recognise that we cannot simply carry on reacting to pressures of demand on our services, we need to think longer-term, more strategically and consider how to better manage the causes of demand.  This conference will also consider the financial case to move towards a preventative policy approach to achieve defined outcomes for citizens.  Can the case be made for prevention and is that better than cure? Or, are we heading to a crisis in public finances if we do not change track?

Who should attend?

All members of the Government Finance Function/Profession and those colleagues with a wider interest in understanding current public financial management challenges.

Benefits of attending

Delegates will gain a better understanding of the current long-term trends in the UK Governments finances.  They will also benefit from hearing first-hand examples of planning for outcomes in the critical sector of health spending, and what lessons have been learnt from that experience.  Doing things differently requires enhancing existing skills and capabilities. Delegates will also learn about the skills required to deal with the significant financial challenges ahead for public finance.  Finally, delegates will gain insights from listening to experts in their field discussion current challenges in an open panel session to finish.  This event also provides an opportunity to network with like-minded professional across government bodies.

CPD hours

Four and a half.


  • Accounting
  • / Central government
  • / Financial management

Download programme schedule

PDF 137.21 KB

Speaker - Mike Driver

Mike Driver

Mike is the Chief Financial Officer, Ministry of Justice, and Head of the Government Finance Function, HM Treasury. Mike was previously the Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Work and Pensions.

He joined the Department of Health and Social Security in 1979 straight from school, and spent his first six years in the civil service delivering services to customers. He then moved into regional management and thereafter fulfilled a range of policy and finance roles. He is a CIPFA qualified accountant, and has held a variety of FD roles, both corporate and operational. He was promoted to Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2012. From 1 April 2016, he was appointed the CFO for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and on 1 June July 2017 also became the Head of the Government Finance Function, HM Treasury, where he is driving the agenda to substantially strengthen the finance function’s critical role at the heart of government, ensuring better political and business outcomes.

In addition to his core roles, he has a range of additional responsibilities. Within the MoJ, he is the Accountant General of the Senior Courts of England and Wales and a Commissioner for the Reduction of the National Debt. Across government, he is a member of the Commercial Function Oversight Board and a non-executive board member of Shared Services Connect Limited. To drive forward the finance profession, he became a member of the CIPFA Council and Chair of the CIPFA Governance & Financial Management Panel.

Speaker - Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Mark Williams, CPFA FCA, specialises in the financial and commercial implications of complex projects.

Mark was an Audit/Advisory Partner with one of the 'big four' firms where he set up the firm’s Government Finance and Accounting team. In that role Mark worked extensively with HM Treasury. Prior to this Mark was External Audit Director on a portfolio of London teaching hospitals.

Now with PA Consulting, Mark focuses on property and infrastructure and new delivery models, including via a secondment at the Cabinet Office. Mark is involved in a wide range of property and infrastructure projects including for the Department for Health, Department for Transport, Ministry of Defence, Greater London Authority, and more.

Mark delivers a variety of training (L&D) to public servants: HMT’s Better Business Case; the World Bank’s CP3P; and IPA’s Project Leadership Programme.

Mark is a member of both the CIPFA Central Government Board and the CIPFA SE Council.

Speaker - Kate Mathers, Executive Leader, National Audit Office

Kate Mathers

Kate is a member of the NAO's Leadership Team and is jointly responsible for the NAO's financial audit practice. A chartered accountant, Kate held senior management positions in finance and operations while on secondment to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Kate is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and at Access Accountancy. Kate also sits on the ICAEW's council and board and chairs its Learning and Professional Development Board.

Speaker - Melanie Maxwell Scott

Melanie Maxwell

Melanie Maxwell Scott is Director of Policy for the Business Services Association (BSA). The BSA is an industry body for those delivering efficient, flexible, cost-effective service and infrastructure projects across the public and private sectors. Melanie has been involved in a broad range of policy reforms covering government procurement, public sector markets, pensions and employment practices. Her previous roles were at the CBI, Pensions Policy Institute and Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Melanie is a member of the CIPFA Brexit Commission.

Speaker - Jim Ebdon

Jim Ebdon

Jim Ebdon has been working in public finances and fiscal policy for the last 17 years, including stints at the ONS, Audit Commission and Treasury. Since 2016, he has led the Office for Budget Responsibility’s fiscal sustainability and risks team. His team’s biennial fiscal sustainability reports provide the government with 50 year projections for the public finances and analysis of the public sector balance sheet. Their most recent July 2018 report covered the impact of new population projections and recent policy developments (including the substantial June 2018 health spending announcement). In 2017 the team launched the UK’s first fiscal risk report which looked at the risks from tobacco smuggling to the next financial crisis and all points between.