Information on the speakers that presented at the 2023 Public Finance Live Scotland.

Caroline Rassell, CIPFA President

From 2009 Caroline was Deputy Chief Executive at Community Health Partnerships (CHP), an arm’s length company of the Department of Health. Prior to this, Caroline worked in a number of primary care trusts in Essex as a Director of Finance and Director of Commissioning. Before joining the NHS, she worked for 15 years in local government where she qualified as a CIPFA accountant. In March 2016 Caroline was appointed as the Interim Senior Responsible Officer for the Mid and South Essex Success Regime (Locality Health & Care) Caroline has worked in local government, the NHS, government-owned private companies and now the charitable sector. She is currently CEO of Parkinson’s UK. She is an avid park runner and wellbeing advocate, and she also recently returned to learning to play the piano after a 40-year break..

Rachel McTavish

Rachel is one of the UK’s most experienced broadcast journalists and live event hosts. Over the last 15 years, Rachel has worked for ITV, BBC, FIVE, GMTV, STV, ITV London and several corporate and foreign broadcasters. Rachel has a diverse range of credits from being on air and leading the ITV News channel's coverage of the Twin Tower attacks in 2001 to playing a pantomime dame at Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre for STV’s Five Thirty Show. Her ability to find the appropriate tone to handle a broad range of stories confirmed her as a regular on Nick Ferrari’s Sony Award-winning breakfast show on London’s LBC and as a stand-in for comedian Fred MacAulay on his popular BBC Radio Show. Rachel is an adept conference facilitator and awards host – regularly chairing events around the country. Rachel can currently be seen presenting the news on STV.

Joanne Brown, CIPFA in Scotland Branch Chair

Jo Brown has over 20 years’ experience of working with public sector organisations in Scotland and England. Jo joined PwC as a graduate trainee specialising in external audit and internal audit, across the NHS, Local Government and Central Government and became CIPFA qualified in 2005. She joined Grant Thornton UK LLP in 2015 to lead their Public Sector team and became a Partner in July 2019. More recently, Jo has taken on a leadership role for our Public Sector team in London, leading a portfolio of NHS and Local government clients and a team of 140 people. In her external audit role she has worked with a number of high profile organisations across the public sector, including supporting Audit Scotland in statutory reporting covering financial statements and the wider scope, Value for money reporting. Jo became chair of the CIPFA Scotland branch in June 2023.

Shona Robison, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance

Educated at Alva Academy, she went on to graduate from Glasgow University with a Social Sciences MA and Jordanhill College with a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Education. She previously worked for Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Department. Shona was MSP for the North East from 1999-2003 before being elected MSP for Dundee East in 2003 (now renamed Dundee City East). Latterly she was Shadow Minister for Health and Social Justice and a member of the Parliament’s Health Committee. She was appointed Minister for Public Health in the minority Scottish Government formed after the May 2007 election. In February 2009, she additionally assumed responsibility for the sport remit and her title changed to Minister for Public Health and Sport. After the 2011 election, Shona was made Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport. In 2014, with additional responsibilities for Equalities and Pensioners’ Rights being added to her portfolio, she became a full member of the Scottish Cabinet and served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport until June 2018. Following the 2021 election, Shona was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, and in March 2023, she became the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance.

Stephen Boyle, Auditor General Scotland, Audit Scotland

Stephen was appointed Auditor General in July 2020 by Her Majesty the Queen and is responsible for auditing around £40bn of taxpayers’ money. Stephen previously led Audit Scotland’s central government external audit work. As Audit Director, he was the engagement lead on the audits of the Scottish Government’s consolidated accounts, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and the European Agricultural Funds Account. Before joining Audit Scotland in 2013, Stephen was the Assistant Director of finance at Glasgow Housing Association and before that, the Head of Finance and Corporate Services at Cube Housing Association. Stephen is committed to public services that improve the lives of Scotland’s people. He has over 20 years’ of experience in audit, governance and financial management, and is a qualified accountant and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

Ashleigh Henderson, Senior Health Promotion Officer, Physical Activity Lead, Directorate of Public Health, NHS Tayside

Ashleigh's background in the field of health improvement started with NHS Tayside in 2009, where she worked for a community health project, focusing on developing and supporting community led health initiatives. Ashleigh then went on to achieve her Masters in Public Health & Health Promotion, leading to her current role. Ashleigh's focus is to maximise the use of physical activity across prevention, intervention and recovery, through an inequalities lens, which ultimately looks to develop and implement evidence-based interventions and systems change, to support and address access to appropriate physical activity opportunities across the region. Part of this agenda involves the Dundee Green Health Partnership, which produced the first Green Health Prescription Pathway, supporting patients towards the outdoors, for health benefits. With the vast majority of prescriptions linked to mental health concerns, the GHP Prescription pathway allows for an alternative approach to supporting patients through non medical and more sustainable interventions, benefiting the patient, the environment and our primary and secondary care services.

Professor Amanda Kirby, MBBS MRCGP PhD, CEO of Do-IT Solutions

Amanda is the founder and CEO of an internationally recognised tech-for-good company that provides neurodiversity screening and web-based support tools for children and adults in education and employment. Amanda is a medical doctor and an emeritus professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary professor at Cardiff University. She has clinical and research experience and founded and ran a transdisciplinary clinical and research team for 20 years relating to neurodiversity. Amanda has been on government advisory boards as well as advising UK and international charities in the field of neurodiversity. She is a writer, researcher and has co-authored the first Neurodiversity Index Report with City and Guilds Foundation published in March 2023. In 2022 she has been voted one of the top UK HR Thinkers and one the lifetime achievement awards at the National Diversity Awards. Amanda has lived experience of neurodiversity first-hand, as she sees herself as neurodivergent as well as being a parent of neurodivergent children and grandchildren.

Dan Jenkins, Senior Health Improvement Specialist, NHS Highland

Dan Jenkins is a Senior Health Improvement Specialist with NHS Highland and has recently returned from a secondment as Strategic Green Health Development Manager with Cairngorms National Park Authority (Cairngorms 2030 programme) where he developed a Nature Prescriptions programme with Primary Care and wider health and social care professionals in Badenoch and Strathspey. Dan comes with extensive experience in strategic planning and delivery of large scale health improvement work-streams: including Type 2 Diabetes, Adult and Child Healthy Weight, Physical Activity, Active Travel, Greenspace and improving hospital grounds for outdoor therapy. Committed to reducing inequalities and embedding social justice in service development, Dan places patients and communities at the heart of programming whilst achieving greatest impact for those in most need.

Richard McCallum, Director of Health Finance and Governance, Scottish Government

Richard McCallum is the Director of Health Finance and Governance at the Scottish Government where he has responsibility for the effective stewardship of the £19 billion Health and Sport Portfolio budget. His finance career began with KPMG, where he worked in the External and Internal Audit Functions. Since 2010 he has worked at the Scottish Government in various roles, including a two year period heading the financial services department at NHS Fife.

Charlie Murphy, Researcher, Centre for Local Economic Strategies

Charlie is a Researcher at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies and has expertise on community engagement, sustainable finance, and local economic development. His work at CLES focuses on developing community wealth building across Scotland and has worked on and co-authored the roadmap to decarbonisation report on retrofit in South of Scotland, embedding community wealth building into Edinburgh and South East Scotland regional economic partnership and how community wealth building can enable just local transitions. He has also been involved in a range of research, membership, policy and consultancy work with local, regional and national government across the UK.

Anna Pearce, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, University of Glasgow

Anna is a social epidemiologist in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, at the University of Glasgow, where she co-leads a workstream on Reducing Health Inequalities. Anna's research focus is on children’s health inequalities, the social determinants of health, and the application of causal methods to existing data to examine upstream policy options for reducing health inequalities. She is co-investigator on the UKPRP-funded network MatCHNet, which is bringing together a multi-disciplinary network of academics, policymakers, and practitioners to utilise policy differences across the UK countries to evaluate non-health policy impacts on health. She has authored commissioned reviews of inequalities in child health, including for WHO Europe, and recently led on a Health Foundation funded report documenting trends in health inequalities in Scotland.

David Phillips, Associate Director, The Institute for Fiscal Studies

David is an Associate Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and helps lead two main areas of research. First is work on devolved and local government finance, with a particular focus on the distribution of funding, and the incentives and risks that different funding regimes entail for sub-national government, as well as responses to these incentives. This includes work on the fiscal frameworks and budgets of Scotland and Wales and on the ongoing major changes to English local government finance. Second is work on tax and social protection policy in developing countries, including the joint IFS - ODI Centre for Tax Analysis in Developing Countries (TaxDev) funded by DfID.

Joanne Pitt, Senior Policy Manager (Local Government), CIPFA

Joanne Pitt is an experienced local government adviser and has 25 years of public sector experience. She was responsible for the delivery of the CIPFA Financial Management Code and is an advocate of strong financial management and good governance. She is a national speaker and author of numerous publications on topics such as government funding, housing and financial sustainability. Through her work with CFOs across the country she supports local government improvement and reform using data analysis and strong evidence-based insight.

John Sherry, Head of Financial Inclusion and Transformation in Glasgow City Council

John is the Head of Financial Inclusion and Transformation in Glasgow City Council and is a CIPFA qualified accountant. He has worked in local government in Scotland for over 30 years and has been involved in a wide range of transformational projects including leading the council’s Service Reform Programme and practically embedding partnership working across partners in the city. He takes great pride in the tackling poverty work he is involved, and he is currently heading up the Child Poverty Pathfinder. John is married and his spare time like playing golf (badly), cycling and attending football.

Howard Reed, Director, Landman Economics

Howard is director of the economic research consultancy Landman Economics which specialises in policy analysis and complex econometric modelling work coupled with a progressive political perspective. Howard's main areas of expertise include taxation, labour market policy, health economics, inequality and fiscal policy. Landman Economics maintains microsimulation models of the UK tax-benefit system and the distributional effects of public spending. Howard is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Northumbria working on a project looking at the potential positive distributional and health impacts of introducing a Universal Basic Income.

George Tarvit, Director, Sustainable Scotland Network

George has led and managed the SSN since 2003 and has been based at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute at the University of Edinburgh since 2018. He has experience of climate change policy, carbon accounting, public sector climate change reporting, managing events and communications, and working with a wide range of organisations to support public sector action on climate change and sustainable development. Prior to leading SSN George worked for Oxfam as Trade Campaign Manager, before taking up post as Oxfam Scotland’s Parliamentary Liaison Officer. George has a degree in Community Studies.

Stephen Vere, Programme Director, Net Zero, Scottish Futures Trust

Stephen Vere is a Chartered Accountant, with a project finance background. Stephen leads the Net Zero Buildings team whose main priorities are the decarbonisation of heat, energy efficiency, delivering net zero infrastructure and carbon capture and storage.  Stephen also led the development of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme for the Scottish public sector.

Dr Abigail Taylor, Research Fellow, City-REDI, University of Birmingham

Abigail is passionate about leading and contributing to research and evaluation policy analysis that informs and influences regional and national growth policies. Her primary research interests are place-based approaches to regional and local labour markets, skills, funding, institutions and governance structures, and employment support policy. Abigail’s research often involves a cross-national focus.

Abigail previously completed an 18-month 50% secondment to the Industrial Strategy Council during which she worked on various projects including analysing international examples of regions which have successfully levelled up, and the process behind the development of Local Industrial Strategies.

Andrew Scott, Director for Tax and Revenues in the Scottish Government

Andrew Scott is Director for Tax and Revenues in the Scottish Government. He has responsibility for tax strategy and policy, for both devolved tax powers and reserved tax. He is also leading work to identify sources of revenue in relation to the Scottish Budget.

Andrew has previously worked in Scotland and Whitehall, across an extensive range of departments and public policy issues, including sustainable land use and rural affairs, EU Exit, public health, employment, skills, further and higher education, environment, housing, and on the development of strategic approaches to Government policy.

Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, Scottish TUC

Dave has responsibility for the public sector and voluntary sectors, transport, energy and climate change.

Dave represents the STUC on the Scottish Government’s newly appointed Tax Advisory Group and was formally a member of the Just Transition Commission, a board member of the Scottish Poverty Alliance, co-chair of the Scottish Living Wage campaign and a Councillor with Glasgow City Council.

Jenna Coull, Principal Economist, RSPB

Jenna is the Principal Economist for the Positive Nature Economy team. We push for change than ensures that we are transitioning to a nature positive, next-zero economy where people increasingly work together to deliver nature recovery and improved wellbeing for all.

Dr Heather Reid OBE, Board Member, NatureScot

Heather is a physicist and meteorologist who spent 15 years as BBC Scotland's chief weather forecaster and presenter. She is currently Convener of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority and a Board Member of NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency.

For 30 years she has worked in science engagement with a range of partners, including the Science Centre network, universities, industry bodies and the Scottish Government. As a freelance science education consultant she specialises in providing support to teachers, local authorities and learning institutions, especially on the topics of climate change, sustainability and the importance of science.

Awards include the Kelvin Medal from the Institute of Physics, honorary doctorates from the University of Paisley, the University of Glasgow and The Open University, and in 2006, she was awarded an OBE for services to physics.