Our speakers

CIPFA Public Finance Live Scotland 2019

Public Finance LIVE Scotland 2019 

Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes MSP is from Dingwall, although she spent part of her upbringing in Glasgow and India. Until she was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate was employed as anaccountant in the banking industry. Prior to that she studied History at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh with a focus on human migration.
As a backbencher, she has served on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee; the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee; the Health and Sport Committee; and, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as parliamentary liaison officer for Finance and the Constitution. 
As well as leading a campaign to ban plastic straws, Kate has participated in several cross-party groups at Holyrood, including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy. A fluent Gaelic speaker, Kate made history earlier this year by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.

Willie Rennie, Member of the Scottish Parliament and Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats 

Willie Rennie WebWillie was elected as MSP for North East Fife in 2016 and has been Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats for seven years. He was MP for Dunfermline and West Fife before becoming MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife. He has a commitment improving early years education, mental health services and protecting civil liberties.  He was a member of the Commons Defence Committee.  He has a degree in biology from Paisley College.  Willie worked for the Lib Dems in Cornwall before becoming Chief Executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats for the first Scottish Parliament elections.  He then worked for a small communications firm for several years.  His finest achievement though was being the runner up in the Scottish Coal Carrying Championship.

Sarah Howard, President, CIPFA

Sarah HowardSarah is a partner and head of public sector at Grant Thornton. Sarah’s passion for the sector and strong support for CIPFA has seen Grant Thornton become the largest UK recruiter of CIPFA students and the first firm to launch the CIPFA apprenticeship scheme and adopt the new Integrated Qualification. 

Sarah spends much of her time between the north of England and London, leading the firm’s public sector assurance and advisory practice. Sarah has been lucky to work with a variety of clients over the last 25 years, seeing most recently the devolution changes across Greater Manchester first hand. Previously, Sarah was a partner at RSM Robson Rhodes, and before that was with the Audit Commission in Bristol and Yorkshire.

Sarah has been an active volunteer for CIPFA over much of her career as an examiner, regional executive member and as an elected council member. Sarah’s volunteering efforts have been recognised by the Institute through both the Dr Hedley Marshall Award for outstanding contribution to regional activities and the Tom Sowerby Award for outstanding services to CIPFA students.

Graham Atkins, Researcher, Institute for Government

Graham Atkins is a researcher at the Institute for Government, working on Performance Tracker, the Institute’s annual data-driven assessment of the government’s performance in runningGraham Atkins public services. 

Prior to that, he worked on projects about infrastructure policy-making and private finance. Before joining, he worked at a public sector consultancy, DragonGate, on a range of projects for local government and the broader public sector.

Daren Fitzhenry, Scottish Information Commissioner

Daren Fitzhenry took up post as Scottish information commissioner in October 2017 for a fixed term of six years. Prior to his current role, he was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force LegalDaren Fitzhenry Branch, heading up its legal advisory team, with wide-ranging experience in the development, implementation and enforcement of regulatory systems.   

As Scottish information commissioner, Daren is responsible for the enforcement and promotion of Scotland’s freedom of information laws. This includes handling appeals about the way in which Scottish public authorities respond to information requests, promoting good practice and monitoring and assessing FOI performance.  

He is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, recognising the significant benefits that FOI brings to society, not least its key role in enabling the public's participation and engagement in the issues which really matter to them

Alison Hosie, Research Officer, Scottish Human Rights Commission

Alison has been the research officer at the Scottish Human Rights Commission since it commenced work in 2008.  She supports the Commission's research needs by developing and managingAlison-Hosie external research contracts and undertaking primary and secondary research. Her current areas of work focus on human rights budget work, measurement of national progress on human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Prior to working for the Commission, Alison spent 15 years as a social researcher, first within academia and then as an independent contractor focusing primarily on areas of health and educational policy.

Paul McVeigh, Author and Former Premier League Footballer

Paul McVeigh was a professional footballer for nearly 20 years, playing for clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Burnley and Norwich City, whilst gaining 40 caps internationally for NorthernPaul McVeigh Ireland. He made over 300 appearances and was a key member of 2 championship winning teams and rose to the pinnacle of English football.

Paul has recently finished his studies, which means he is the first person in history to play in the premier league and qualify with a master's in sport psychology. He is also a published author of the ironically entitled book The Stupid Footballer is Dead, and he started his own company, which works on the mental aspect of performance.

He is here today to share some of his experiences and knowledge about what he believes it takes to cultivate a high-performing mind.

Fraser Paterson, Fraud Prevention Manager, NHS National Services Scotland

Fraser Paterson has over 30 years' experience preventing, detecting and investigating fraud and crime with various UK public sector organisations, including 12 years as an investigator with the Armed Forces Police Criminal Investigation Branch. During this period, he trained as a detective and crime scene examiner with Avon & Somerset Police and Durham Constabulary respectively.

Since leaving the Armed Forces in 1999, Fraser has worked as an investigator with the Counter Fraud and Compliance Unit of the Rural Payments Agency in Reading and as a senior investigator with the South West Regional Team of NHS England CFS (now NHS Counter Fraud Authority) in Bristol. 

In July 2004, after joining NHS Scotland CFS, Fraser initially managed fraud investigation teams with responsibility for enquiries covering NHS bodies throughout Scotland.  

In October 2013, Fraser took national responsibility for teams of Counter Fraud and Communications Specialists with remits for fraud prevention, customer engagement and shared services provision to NHS Scotland and elements of the wider Scottish public sector.

Margaret Pratt, Chair of Ethics Working Group, CIPFA

Margaret Pratt was CIPFA’s first female president (1998). She joined Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in 1979 as its first graduate trainee at the age of 25, qualifying in 1982. SheMargaret Pratt became active in the Midlands Student’s Society and CIPFA nationally in the early 1980s, and played a key role in establishing CIPFA in the Midlands as the first integrated CIPFA region. She was an elected member of the CIPFA Councilfrom 1988 to 2003. 

Margaret has had a varied professional career working in local government, consultancy and the NHS before establishing her own consultancy in 1999. She has worked in a range of executive, non-executive and advisory roles.

Brian Roberts, Finance Commissioner, Northamptonshire County Council

Brian RobertsBrian was appointed finance commissioner for Northamptonshire County Council in 2018 and is the former director of corporate resources and deputy chief executive at Leicestershire County Council. Previously, he worked at Staffordshire County Council, Hampshire County Council, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Hart District Council and Merseyside County Council.

Brian qualified as an accountant in 1980 and was CIPFA President in 2016. He was a member and past president of the Society of County Treasurers and he has also been an LGA core finance adviser and past president of the Association of Local Government Treasurers. Brian is currently a national council member of CIPFA and a trustee of the Centre for Public Scrutiny.

Alan Ross, Senior Strategic Management Consultant, Zurich 

Alan has an undergraduate honours degree in risk management and has worked for Zurich for over ten years.Alan-Ross
With previous experience working within blue chip companies, the financial service industry and the third sector, Alan is also a trained facilitator, trainer and PRINCE II practitioner.

Since joining Zurich, Alan has delivered a range of risk and resilience consultancy services for Zurich’s customers, both in the private and public sector. This includes designing and implementing enterprise risk management and business continuity frameworks.