CIPFA Scotland: public finance professionals ‘must be at the forefront of reform’

26 Mar 15

Public finance professionals should be at the forefront of public service reform in a Scotland likely to remain dominated by Left-wing politicians with an ‘unthinking’ belief in a big public sector, according to David Watt, the Institute of Directors’ Scottish executive director.

‘Whatever is happening, you guys have got to be involved,’ Watt told the CIPFA Scotland conference in Clydebank. ‘You need to be giving instruction and guidance to the politicians in what they do.’ He said he wanted to see, not just evidence-based policy-making, but evidence-based decisions by politicians. ‘You need to be pulling the big data so that they fire the bullets in the right direction,’ Watt told delegates. He accepted that Scotland was unlikely to see much in the way of privatisation ‘for the foreseeable future’, but argued that other ways of delivering public services – such as Arms-Length Executive Organisations (ALEOs) and employee-owned co-operatives – had been shown to work. ‘You should be part of this leadership team,’ he said.

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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