Public Finance Live Scotland 2023

CIPFA Scotland’s annual conference, Public Finance Live, returned on 14 September 2023 to Edinburgh at the Royal College of Physicians in the heart of the New Town.   

Shona Robison speaking in front of a large screen in an auditorium full of seated guests

2023 conference 

Date: 14 September 2023

Location: Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh 

The 2023 Public Finance Live was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. The one-day conference had been preceded the night before with an awards dinner held at Edinburgh Castle where guests had gathered together to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of CIPFA members across the Scottish public sector. 

The awards winners for 2023 were announced as follows: 

  • CIPFA Scotland Public Finance Team 2023 - The Scottish Exchequer’s Fiscal Framework Team
  • CIPFA Scotland Emerging Talent 2023 – Jack O’Shea, Glasgow City Council
  • CIPFA Scotland Finance Professional 2023 – Joseph McLachlan, East Ayrshire Council

This dedication and enthusiasm was very evident throughout the conference where delegates had the opportunity to spend time together listening to a range of excellent speakers.  The first of which was Shona Robison Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance who provided a thorough and insightful session to a packed auditorium.

Man and woman presenting from a screen in front of a small seated group

What was discussed

Finance was not the only topic on the agenda, and it was fantastic to see the range of health and wellbeing related sessions on the programme this year, with a focus on community-power, reducing inequalities, preventative action and ensuring services are sustainable – not only environmentally, but also socially and financially.

Richard McCallum, Director of HSC Finance at Scottish Government gave a long-term view of health and social care and some of the challenges involved, not only the financial perspective, but encompassing demographics and workforce, sustainability, digital and innovation and plans for future reform.

The session on Green Health Partnerships featured speakers from NatureScot, NHS Tayside and NHS Highland, bringing a fresh perspective to the topics of sustainability, integration and public health, concentrating on a more natural health service. These cross-sector partnerships are piloting a greener approach to health and care by joining up existing work to tackle health inequalities, championing investment in nature rich spaces to support health priorities, encouraging nature-based activity in health pathways and social prescribing and increasing the connection to nature to improve population health outcomes.

The workshop lead by the CIPFA Scottish Students network on Ethic in the work place resulted in good discussion and debate and it offered a fantastic opportunity for newer CIPFA members to experience conference and the benefits of meeting face to face. 

Dr Abigail Taylor shared findings from the work that CIPFA and the University of Birmingham undertook on improving outcomes and opportunities in left-behind places. Last year, ten international cities were put under the microscope; the next leg of the journey involves transferring that learning to city regions in England. Our addressing regional inequalities webpage unpacks what levelling up looks like from an international perspective and provides evidence-based guidance to inform future policy.

The pace and quality of the session continued all day including Artificial Intelligence: A New Paradigm for Society a thoroughly thought-provoking session from Baillie Gifford to the wonderful presentation by Jenna Coull, Principal Economist for the RSPB. 

Woman presenting to a small seated group from a large screen

Public Finance Live Scotland 2024

If you missed the event this year, make sure you book in for 2024, details will be available on the CIPFA Conference page.

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