Our speakers

CIPFA Public Finance Live Scotland 2020

Scotland 2020 

Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Migration

Ben MacphersonBen is a qualified solicitor and has worked in a number of roles in the private, public and third sectors, including as a commercial lawyer. His previous employment also includes working in the renewable energy sector, a school, hospitality, financial services and for an NGO.  

He studied at both the University of Edinburgh and the University of York.

Ben, who is from Edinburgh, was elected as MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith in May 2016.


Susan Aitken, Council Leader, Glasgow City Council

Susan AitkenSusan Aitken became Leader of Glasgow City Council when the SNP became the largest party on the Council and formed a minority administration in May 2017. She was elected as a councillor for the Langside ward, where she lives, in 2012 and has been leader of the SNP group since 2014, having previously served as the group spokesperson on health and social care.

Before being elected, Susan worked in a variety of policy and research roles in the Scottish Parliament and the third sector, and as a freelance writer and editor specialising in health and social care policy. She grew up in Biggar in South Lanarkshire, moved to Glasgow aged 17 and is a graduate of both Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities.

Alice Beveridge, Psychologist, Teacher, Director, Tree of Knowledge

Alice Beveridge‘Hilarious and engaging’

‘Simply fantastic’

‘She has a contagious energy’

Alice is a truly unique speaker.

Psychologist, teacher, director and keeper of chickens, Alice brings a wealth of knowledge, personal experience and energy to everything she delivers. Alice is one of only a handful of people around the world who has successfully achieved a Master of Science in Applied Positive Psychology. As a positive psychologist, she challenges the way people see themselves. She has a true passion for helping people realise that they are in control of their lives by introducing them to a range of positive psychology theories and interventions. Through fun and laughter, Alice helps them to truly ignite their spark.

Rob Coyne, General Manager, EMEA - Hootsuite 

Rob Coyne

Rob Coyne is a passionate leader with over 28 years experience within the digital marketplace. Now, as the general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Hootsuite, he is responsible for the regional performance, building on recent successes, and ensuring the continued growth of the business.  

Before Hootsuite, he spent three years as managing director of digital marketing organisation Kenshoo and has led sales teams for more than 10 years, including at business software companies Oracle and SAP. Rob has a strong background in social marketing across a number of industries. 

Outside of work, Rob is a committed supporter of Speakers for Schools in the UK and often takes time to present within schools on a regular basis as a motivational speaker. 

Caroline Gardner, Auditor General, Audit Scotland

Caroline GardenerCaroline is the Auditor General for Scotland, responsible for auditing the Scottish Government and public bodies in Scotland and reporting to the Scottish Parliament. She is the accountable officer for Audit Scotland. A qualified accountant member of CIPFA (serving as president during 2006–07), she has 30 years' experience in audit, governance and financial management.

Caroline has been a member of the Public Service Audit Appointments Board since December 2014 and was a member of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants between 2010 and 2015.

Previously, Caroline was Deputy Auditor General with Audit Scotland, including six years as Controller of Audit. She spent a year as Chief Financial Officer to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, appointed by the UK Government's Department for International Development to restore stability to the country's finances and worked for the Audit Commission for England and Wales.

Matthew Hardwick, Strategic Risk Consultant, Zurich

Matthew HardwickAfter 10 years in the public sector, Matthew Hardwick joined Zurich and has supported a number of Zurich Municipal customers in developing more robust risk management approaches. Matt’s skills and expertise include:

  • design and implementation of complex organisation wide enterprise risk management and resilience solutions
  • design and implementation of risk assurance frameworks, working closely with Executive and Non-Executive Directors
  • development of Risk Appetite Solutions to help businesses make informed risk-based decisions
  • policy compliance reviews against statutory compliance standards
  • Business Continuity Testing Workshops and Business Continuity Development Sessions.

Fiona Kordiak, Chair, CIPFA Scotland Branch

Fiona KordiakFiona has been Director of Audit Services in Audit Scotland since 2006 and is a member of the Management Team. She has overall responsibility for the in-house annual audit team and the Professional Support Team which provides professional and technical support to Audit Scotland staff and the firms. Fiona has been with Audit Scotland and its predecessor body since 1987 and qualified with CIPFA in 1989. She is a member of LASAAC, FRAB, the FRC Audit and Assurance Council and is currently chair of CIPFA Scotland.

Paul McKevitt, Joint Appointment between Wigan Borough CCG and Wigan Council

Paul McKevittPaul currently has a joint appointment between Wigan Borough CCG and Wigan Council. He has been the CCG’s Director of Finance since June 2018, and the Council’s Chief Finance Officer since 2008. 

At the CCG Paul is responsible for all aspects of the DoF role and has been working on the Section 75 agreement that will eventually see a Council and CCG pooled budget of £1.2bn. He is also currently working on a locality financial plan and the transfer of community services contract to a local provider. The CCG has a budget of £520m.
Paul is also the Deputy Chief Executive at Wigan Council and is responsible for the following services:

Legal, Democratic Services, Elections, Insurance, Finance, Internal Audit, Property and Leisure Services and Procurement. Paul has been part of the Council's Senior Management Team since 2011. He is responsible for the Council's finance and budget setting and he has been the Section 151 Officer since 2008. In addition to this Paul is also the Treasurer of Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service where he has been the S151 officer since 2011.


Anne Mcwhinnie, Trainer, Alzheimer Scotland

Anne McWhinnieAnne has worked for Alzheimer Scotland for 15 years. Her first role within the organisation was a memory clinic link worker, supporting people who had just been diagnosed with dementia. She then went onto a training manager role, working with in partnership with a local authority. She moved on from that role to her current role managing and leading the Dementia Friends Initiative, giving people a bit of understanding about dementia and turning that understanding into action. She has been in this role now for six years and recently also took on the role of dementia friendly Scotland lead. 

Alzheimer Scotland is working and collaborating with business and organisations to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and understanding to support their customers, as well as ensuring that they consider how they would support employees around a diagnosis. The aim is to make Scotland a place where people with dementia feel involved and part of their community.

Anas Sarwar, MSP

Anas SarwarAnas was born in Glasgow in 1983 and joined the Labour Party when he was just 16. He studied dentistry at the University of Glasgow and worked as a dentist in the NHS in Paisley for five years prior to becoming a MP.

Anas was elected to represent the constituency of Glasgow Central in 2010. Shortly after becoming an MP, he was elected by his colleagues to serve on the House of Commons International Development Committee. He was also co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption.

In 2011, he was elected as deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and he led the party's positive campaign against Scottish independence – United With Labour – in the run-up to the 2014 referendum. Anas toured the country in a bus to speak to thousands of Scots during the campaign.

In 2015 he worked on charitable projects, founding Glasgow Cares. He raised funds to transport ambulances to the Greek island of Lesbos to support Syrian refugees, and also launched a toy bank in Glasgow with the aim of ensuring every child in the city could enjoy Christmas.

At the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, Anas was elected as an MSP for Glasgow. He was then appointed by Kezia Dugdale as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, and successfully exposed how the SNP is failing our NHS. He established an expert-led workforce commission to tackle the staffing crisis in the health service. He stood to be Scottish Labour leader in 2017, and now serves as a backbench MSP, fighting for constituents in Glasgow.

In 2018, Anas established the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, highlighting the racism he had faced. The group works to eradicate prejudice, hatred and bigotry.

He is married to Furheen and has three young sons, and lives in Glasgow.

Alan Sinclair, Author

Alan SinclairAlan has only recently recovered from being born in Bellshill. His book, “Right from the Start: investing in parents and babies” came out in 2018.

He set up Heatwise Glasgow – which became the Wise group and lead it for 17 years. They pioneered an approach that combined work and training that got thousands of long-term unemployed people into work.

For 5 years he was the Senior Director for Skills and Learning in Scottish Enterprise. His responsibilities included Modern Apprenticeship, youth employment programmes, Career Scotland and the creation of Scottish labour market intelligence.

He has at different times been on advisory groups in Westminster and Holyrood and had non-executive positions on charitable and private boards. Each year he spends a number of weeks advising/training senior staff in a global consultancy firm.

In 2000 he was awarded a CBE for training unemployed people. He has a passion for supporting parents and children.  He supports a number of people in local authorities, government and charities who are engaged with parents and children.

Archie Stoddart, Head of Climate Change Unit, Transport Scotland

Archie StoddartArchie has worked for Transport Scotland since January 2012 and currently heads Transport Scotland’s Climate Change Unit. His other roles within Transport Scotland have included the Transport (Scotland) Act (2019), sustainable transport, low carbon vehicles, active travel and the National Transport Strategy. In his time with the Scottish Government he has also worked on a range of housing issues and strategies to address fuel poverty, and managed legislative processes.

As well as being a civil servant, Archie has worked for a number of organisations including Shelter, Energy Saving Trust, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and British Rail. 

Carolyn Williamson, President, CIPFA

Carolyn Williamson

Carolyn Williamson is Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources for Hampshire County Council and is responsible for the Corporate Services Shared Partnership arrangement covering the county council, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, Oxfordshire County Council, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council which encompasses finance, HR and transactional services to the partners. This is a unique arrangement which operates across the public sector with joint governance arrangements and a cost sharing arrangement to underpin the partnership.

Carolyn is the Chief Financial Officer for Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Pension Fund. Carolyn is also responsible for Hampshire County Council's IT Service and leads on the digital strategy implementation for the county council.

Carolyn is CIPFA-qualified, since 1991. Carolyn is President of CIPFA and has been a member of CIPFA Council since 2013, having held chairmanship roles on the Audit Committee and Student and Members Board, as well as attending CIPFA Council.