31 October 2008
By Vivienne Russell
Tributes poured in this week following the death of former CIPFA secretary and president Maurice Stonefrost.
CIPFA president Caroline Mawhood said Stonefrost was a 'giant of the institute', who made a remarkable contribution to public services. Audit Commission chief executive Steve Bundred said he was deeply saddened by the loss of a 'hugely important and influential public servant'.
Stonefrost died on October 25, aged 81, following several months of illness.
His career in the public sector spanned almost six decades, beginning as a trainee in Bristol in 1942. He took over as secretary of the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants in 1964 where he masterminded its transformation into CIPFA, shaking off the narrow focus on local government and embracing a broader, pan-public sector approach. Mawhood said Stonefrost was the 'architect of the institute as we know it today'.
In 1973 he returned to the coalface of local government as comptroller of financial services at the Greater London Council. He subsequently moved up to become the GLC's chief executive, the most senior council position in the country, and remained at the helm until its abolition in 1986.
Stonefrost also added his wisdom to many inquiries and commissions, including Frank Layfield's committee on local government finance in 1976 and Lord Weatherill's 1989 citizenship commission. He was a member of the Architectural Heritage Fund for six years, chair of the Dolphin Square Trust for seven years until 2001 and deputy pro-chancellor of London's City University.
Bundred, who knew Stonefrost for almost 30 years, said he had great affection and admiration for him. 'Well beyond the age when the rest of us are hoping to retire, he had his finger on the pulse in many different arenas,' he said. 'It's an absolute scandal that he never received a knighthood for his services.'
Stonefrost served as CIPFA's president in 1984/85, its centenary year, and remained active in CIPFA circles, attending this year's conference in Brighton.
Mawhood said: 'Despite his enormous contribution to CIPFA, it was striking that he regularly referred to the debt which he owed to the institute. We exchanged notes only a few months ago after what turned out to be his last institute event. Typically he expressed gratitude to me for having been remembered – as if we could ever forget.'
He leaves a widow, Audrey, and two children.