Good financial management crucial to economic recovery, says CIPFA president

6 Jul 11
CIPFA members have a major role to play in the success of the government's deficit-reduction strategy, the new institute president told conference delegates this morning.

By Vivienne Russell in Birmingham | 6 July 2011

CIPFA members have a major role to play in the success of the government’s deficit-reduction strategy, the new institute president told conference delegates this morning.

In his opening address to the CIPFA annual conference in Birmingham, Chris Bilsland observed that proper management of public finances was the first of 12 ‘pillars of competitiveness’ defined by the World Economic Forum.

‘The challenge for us is simple,’ he said.

‘We must not get fixated by public spending and debt in isolation; rather we need to focus our attention – and our skills and our advice – on delivering excellent financial management in all public bodies and ensuring we get the right level of public spending and investment to maintain our competitive position.

‘Because without that, economic development and prosperity will surely be fatally compromised.’

Commenting on Birmingham’s history of industry and innovation, Bilsland said the city’s prosperity and growth in the nineteenth century coincided with ‘significant public investment’ in services such as education, housing and public health.

‘It prospered because we capitalised on industry and innovation and achieved strong economic growth.

‘Let’s see if during this conference we can ourselves move on from being fixated by cuts and instead focus on ways in which we can improve the affordability and effectiveness of our public services to help secure our economic prosperity.’

Bilsland also used his speech to urge greater ‘pace and urgency’ on the integration of public services.

He hailed Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s announcement last week of an extension of Community Budget pilots as a ‘small step in the right direction’ but added: ‘We need to add much more urgency and pace to make up for lost time.’

‘If we work on the principle of doing what is right as opposed to what’s easy, it seems to me to score very highly indeed and to address a real concern for citizens – what seems to many to be an impenetrable complexity of public sector structures,’ Bilsland said.

Spacer

CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?

AddToAny

Have your say

Top