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Public sector’s future can be sustainable, says global accountancy body


06 Dec 2010


Euro & Finance
Sustainable Dev.

          o Leading commentators from Government and finance line up for ACCA event debating public sector sustainability
          o Former Head of the Civil Service and former government minister offer thoughts on Government Spending Review
          o Reliability of finance figures to be declared “essential” in the face of the economic downturn
          o High level conference available on-line – registration open from late November

With public finances facing tough times and swingeing cuts, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), is organising a one-day conference on 15 December 2010 in London to discuss the future of the public sector.

Gillian Fawcett, head of public sector, ACCA says: “The public sector faces constraints. But with every threat comes opportunities to make a positive difference to the efficiency and effectiveness of public services.”

The event, ‘Accounting for a Sustainable Future’, boasts a line-up of insightful speaker sessions that will look at the economic landscape following the divisive Spending Review, assessing the opportunities for refashioning public services in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

Attendees and online viewers will hear from leading figures including former Labour minister Lord Rooker and Clare Moriarty, Director General, Corporate Support Functions, Department for Transport, who will offer thought-provoking insight into how accountants and financial advisors hold the key to rebuilding confidence in public sector spending.

The event will be opened by an address from Lord Butler of Brockwell, former head of the Civil Service and former Cabinet Secretary to Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.

Gillian Fawcett says of the opening address: “With decades of experience, during downturns and boom times, Lord Butler will bring to this event an insight into the challenges faced by the Civil Service. There will also be the chance to ask Lord Butler questions about his time leading the UK’s Civil Service.”

While the London conference is at full capacity, ACCA will be streaming the whole event on the internet via a dedicated microsite, which launches Friday 19 November, so that those unable to travel to London can hear from key speakers and tune into the debate.

Gillian Fawcett adds: “We anticipate a very high level of general interest in this event considering the high-profile line up; as well as particular interest among public sector and finance professionals, given the availability of Professional Development (CPD) points for the value-rich content. There will also be a high level of interaction between speakers and those who register for the event, via participation in online discussion groups and live announcements from the debate via Twitter.”

The video stream is available to all, and will be available online at Registering before 8 December will qualify for an ‘early-bird’ discount, while ACCA members will also receive a further discount.

Event timetable

The series of sessions will deliver an informative and leading debate on ensuring a sustainable public sector in 2011 and beyond, with the first session taking a closer look at good governance in public services. It will focus on whether public services are becoming more or less accountable and transparent in a financially constrained environment. It will consider the role of scrutiny, the value of audit and effectiveness of governing boards in making public services more accountable to citizens.

The two afternoon sessions will focus on the theme of sustainability:

 ‘A catalyst for change – sustainable finance’  with panellists Clare Moriarty, director of finance,  Department for Transport; Professor Graham Winch, Manchester Business School; Jim Clifford, Baker Tilly, head of Charity and Education Advisory Services. The session will focus on key findings from ACCA’s international research on PPP/PFI, effective partnership working and shared services models, and new ways of thinking and working e.g. social return on investment.

‘A sustainable future’ with panellists Fabian Zuleeg, senior policy analyst, European Policy Centre; Professor Jeffrey Unerman, Manchester Business School; and Gillian Fawcett, head of public sector, ACCA. This session will focus on ACCA’s research project ‘Sustainability reporting in the public sector by national governments’ and will consider issues such as whether or not there is a tension between managing the ‘green agenda’ and achieving efficiency savings in public services. The session will also examine the role of the financial professional in sustainability issues.

At the event on the 15 December ACCA will also launch its new policy paper called ACCA setting high professional accountancy standards for public services around the globe.


For further information, please contact:
Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654

Nick Cosgrove, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5989
+44 (0)7963 496144

Notes to Editors:

   1. The event is available to watch online from ACCA’s website from 16 December. Tickets for journalists are available at no cost for media professionals.
   2. The event website is available at:
   3. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. They aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
   4. They support their 140,000 members and 404,000 students in 170 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. They work through a network of over 80 offices and centres and more than 8,000 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through their public interest remit, they promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
   5. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. They believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Their values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, they prepare accountants for business. They seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.