Public sector ‘alive and kicking’: CIPFA president as PF Live gets underway

27 Jun 23

The work of public sector staff has meant that despite “seemingly never-ending challenges” from global events and tough financial circumstances, the sector continues to deliver services for the communities that need them, CIPFA’s new president Caroline Rassell has said.

Image © Akin Falope

Kicking off the Public Finance Live 2023 conference, Rassell told delegates during her opening address that the war in Ukraine in particular has set off “a chain of events that have had a truly global impact”.

“Soaring energy prices, record inflation and the worst cost of living crisis in a generation have created a very difficult environment for public sector bodies,” she said.

“Throughout all of this, the sector has had to continue delivering essential services to the communities it serves while coping with seemingly never-ending challenges.

“Just as it did throughout the pandemic, it has had to innovate, do more with less and pull together to find solutions.”

Rassell said it was due to the people who work in the sector that these solutions have been found.

“It is a testament to all of your hard work, to the commitment of everyone in this room and your resilience in the face of adversity, that the public sector is still running, still delivering for communities and still very much alive and kicking,” she said.

During sessions at the conference, in the QEII Centre in Westminster, London, speakers and delegates will explore themes such as the prolonged period of change and uncertainty the sector faces, as well as the demands of the cost-of-living crisis and the need to fix broken public services.

Rassell pointed to other pressures in the sector, such as workforce shortages, high demand, changing expectations and uncertain finances. 

“It's not getting any easier,” she pointed out.

“We are seeing councils struggling to meet their statutory requirements and our members placed in ever more complex situations. CIPFA has a massive role to play to ensure that lessons learnt are shared, providing guidance and advice to both its members and organisations before events become too challenging.”

Read our interview with Caroline as she starts her year as CIPFA president in the upcoming edition of PF

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