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ICAEW event

Public Sector Conference 2022: Getting governance right

Friday 9 December

This year’s Public Sector Conference will focus on governance, which has become a key issue in the public sector following the COVID-19 pandemic. Governance weaknesses have contributed to recent public sector financial management failures and our conference will look at the lessons that should be learnt.

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Highlights

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Practical tips

Obtain ideas about the role you can play to improve governance and risk management in your organisation.

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Learn lessons

Those on the frontline of public sector governance will share their experiences and learnings.

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Get inspired

Learn about the importance of public sector governance and the ways you can make a difference.

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Expert speakers

Hear from high-profile experts including Meg Hillier MP, Gareth Davies and Sir Tony Redmond.

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Interactive discussions

Join one of three expert-led discussion groups to share ideas about good public sector governance.

2023 programme

Opening remarks
ICAEW's President Julia Penny will open the second ever ICAEW public sector conference by emphasising the importance of the public sector to ICAEW and the role ICAEW members can play in improving governance in the public sector. | Julia Penny, President, ICAEW
10:00 - 10:15
What does good governance look like in the public sector?
The National Audit Office audits over 400 public sector body accounts and produces over 60 reports each year. Gareth Davies, the UK Comptroller and Auditor General and head of the UK National Audit Office, will deliver the opening keynote about some key recent findings from the NAO's work and explain what lessons can be learned by those working in or advising public sector organisations. | Gareth Davies, Comptroller & Auditor General, UK National Audit Office
10:15 - 11:00
Break
11:00 - 11:15
Panel: Lessons learnt from failures of governance
Governance weaknesses have been a major contributory factor in some of the recent high profile financial management failures in local government. Our 3 panellists have all played a leading role in trying to address the gaps in governance in this sector in recent years and will share their insights about what public sector organisations need to do to avoid their own governance failures. | Paul Dossett, Partner and Head of Local Government, Grant Thornton | Sir Tony Redmond, Chair of Nottingham City Council Improvement Board and author of the Redmond Review into the oversight of local audit | Adele Taylor, Executive Director of Resources and S151 Officer, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
11:15 - 12:00
Breakout sessions
These expert-led interactive discussion sessions will provide an opportunity for delegates to share ideas and obtain practical advice about what they can do in their own role to improve public sector governance. Sanjiv Kohli, Director of Resources at Newark and Sherwood Council will lead a session for finance and commercial teams; Ann-Marie Harkin, Executive Director for Audit Services at Audit Wales will lead a session for internal and external auditors; and Peter van Veen, ICAEW's Director of Corporate Governance, will lead a session for governance professionals, board members and elected representatives.
12:00 - 13:00
How do you establish good governance in an organisation?
Peter van Veen, Director, Corporate Governance, ICAEW
Option 1
How can internal and external auditors improve governance?
Ann-Marie Harkin, Executive Director, Audit Services, Audit Wales
Option 2
What role do finance and commercial teams play in good governance?
Sanjiv Kohli, Deputy Chief Executive / Director of Resources & S151 Officer, Newark and Sherwood District Council
Option 3
Break
13:00 - 14:00
Panel discussion: How should public sector organisations manage risk?
The UK government recognises the importance of strengthening risk management capability across the public sector and has established a risk profession to support risk management. Our panel of experts from different perspectives will discuss how public sector organisations should manage risk and what this new profession should focus on. | Mfon Akpan, Director, Financial and Risk Management Hub, UK National Audit Office | Matthew King, Non-Executive Director, Funding Circle | Iain Murray, Director of Policy, CIPFA | Clive Martin, Head of the Government Risk Profession, HM Treasury
14:00 - 14:45
Break
14:45 - 15:05
Why good governance matters in the public sector
As chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Rt Hon Dame Meg Hillier MP, has a prominent role in holding the UK government to account on behalf of taxpayers. ICAEW is delighted that she will be giving the closing keynote speech setting out, from her own experience, why it is so important than public sector organisations get their governance right. | Rt Hon Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
15:05 - 15:40
Closing remarks
Alison Ring, Director for Public Sector and Taxation, ICAEW
15:45 - 16:00
Event close
16:00

Our speakers

Mfon Akpan
Mfon Akpan Director, Financial and Risk Management Hub, UK National Audit

Mfon leads UK NAO’s Financial and Risk Management Hub. She is a Big Four trained multidisciplinary Risk, Assurance and Governance professional with over two decades of cross-border leadership experience across the financial services industry and beyond. Mfon has held roles at a number of blue-chip institutions, including the World Bank Group as a Risk Management Specialist, Standard Bank Group where she was the Chief Risk Officer and Regional Head of Risk for its operations in Nigeria and across West Africa, respectively, and Barclays Group Plc where she was an Audit Director. She is also an Independent Non-Executive Director (INED) on the Board of a UK bank. Mfon is a Sloan Fellow from the London Business School (LBS); a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA); a Certified Risk Manager (CRM); B.Sc. Accountancy graduate; and a British Chevening Scholar.

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies Comptroller and Auditor General, UK National Audit Office

Gareth Davies was appointed C&AG on 1 June 2019. Before his appointment as C&AG, he was Head of Public Services at Mazars, a global accountancy firm specialising in audit, tax and advisory services. Prior to this, he was managing director of the Audit Commission’s Audit Practice. His experience spans financial and value for money audit, organisational leadership and Board governance. Gareth is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

 Paul Dossett
Paul Dossett Partner – Audit, Grant Thornton

Paul has worked with public sector and not for profit clients for more than 35 years. His knowledge and experience is wide ranging, having dealt with different types of public and NFP bodies with financial, governance and performance issues. His current client portfolio includes Kings College NHS FT, Guys & St Thomas NHS FT and Camden & Islington NHS FT as well as numerous councils such as Cornwall Council, Croydon Council and Kent County Council. He is the auditor of the Corporation of London and a Freeman of the City of London. He leads GT’s NHS Counter Fraud Practice, is a Board member of a pan public services organisation Fighting Fraud Locally, a School Governor at Eden Primary Trust, as well as a Board member at the charity Here for Good. He leads business partner arrangements with both CIPFA and SOLACE and has presented at countless events on topics including the challenges of austerity and the opportunities offered by devolution.

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Ann-Marie Harkin Executive Director, Audit Services, Audit Wales

Ann-Marie studied French and German at Cardiff University before joining the National Audit Office, subsequently Audit Wales, where she has enjoyed a varied career as a CIPFA accountant undertaking financial and performance audit work. In 1999 she became the Private Secretary to the first Auditor General for Wales, establishing his Cardiff office and working on new devolution protocols. Ann-Marie chairs the Finance Skills Development Group – a pan-Wales collaboration of public bodies which promotes the value and importance of a career in public finance. In 2016 she won the prestigious Wales Women in Leadership Award. In March 2021 Ann-Marie was appointed Executive Director Audit Services for Audit Wales, where she is the professional lead for all audit work and for developing strategic and professional relationships with stakeholders and the wider profession. She is also a Trustee at Citizens Advice, a member of their Audit and Risk Committee and Chair of their Cymru Advisory Committee.

Meg Hillier
Meg Hillier MP Rt Hon Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

Meg Hillier is the Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch and Chair of the Public Accounts Committee since 2015. The cross-party committee scrutinises the value for money of public spending and holds the Government to account for the delivery of public services. First elected in 2005, Meg has been a junior Home Office Minister and Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Julia Penny
Julia Penny President, ICAEW

Julia qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in 1989 having first completed an honours degree in Accountancy and Finance at Brighton Polytechnic. Soon after qualifying she moved into a training role, initially teaching students and later moving into CPD training and technical roles. She specialises in audit, financial reporting and anti-money laundering and has worked for diverse organisations including Wolters Kluwer, Wilmington plc, Chantrey Vellacott and Baker Tilly (now RSM). Julia has been a Council member since 2013 and an ICAEW Board member since 2017. She was Vice-President for the year June 2020 to June 2021, Deputy President from June 2021 to June 2022 and currently ICAEW President from June 2022 to June 2023.

Sir Tony Redmond
Sir Tony Redmond Chair of Nottingham City Council Improvement Board and author of the Redmond Review into the oversight of local audit

After a substantial career in local government, including roles as Chief Executive, two as Chief Financial Officer and, also Police Authority Treasurer, Tony was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of the Commission for Local Administration in England and Local Government Ombudsman. Subsequently, he was a Local Government Boundary Commissioner, Treasurer of Unicef UK and Vice Chair of the Consumer Council for Water. Most recently, Tony led the Redmond Review into the effectiveness of Local Audit and the transparency of financial reporting in local government. His current roles include Chair of the Improvement and Assurance Board at Nottingham City Council, Course Director at Public Administration International, covering dispute resolution and governance, and Chair of Cipfa’s Charities and Public Entities Board. Tony was Knighted for services to local government in 2010 and is a Past President of Cipfa.

Alison Ring, ICAEW's Director, Public Sector
Alison Ring OBE FCA Director, Public Sector and Taxation, ICAEW

Alison joined ICAEW in 2020 as the Director of the Public Sector team, which supports members working in and with the public sector to deliver public priorities and sustainable public finances. ICAEW engages with policy makers, public servants and others to promote the need for effective financial management, audit and assurance, financial reporting and governance and ethics across the public sector to ensure public money is spent wisely. From September 2021 Alison is also the Director of the Tax team. The tax team leads on being the professional and public interest voice of ICAEW in the field of tax and maintains and enhances the reputation and status of ICAEW by improving the tax system through engagement and making representations to governments and the revenue authorities. Prior to joining ICAEW Alison worked at HMRC for 25 years and held the post of Commissioners’ Advisory Accountant. She previously worked in practice for several years where she qualified as a chartered accountant.

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Adele Taylor Executive Director of Resources and S151 Officer, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

With a career in Local Government spanning over 20 years, and working for a number of different Local Authorities mainly in London and surrounding areas, Adele has a passion for the positive impact that finance and resource teams can have on our communities and our local areas. She is a Fellow of CIPFA, as an accountant by trade, and she is currently Resources Director at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), who she joined in 2020 just as the impact in the UK of the global pandemic was emerging. She joined at a time when RBWM were going through significant change, even pre-pandemic, thanks to her interest and strengths around cultural and service change, especially assisting organisations on their improvement journeys and true transformation of services.

Peter van Veen
Peter van Veen Director, Corporate Governance and Stewardship, ICAEW

Peter is the Director of Corporate Governance and Stewardship at ICAEW. Prior to this, he was the Chief Compliance Officer for multinational enterprises headquartered in the Netherlands, France and Japan. Peter spent over six years at Transparency International UK (TI-UK), where he set up the Business Integrity Programme.

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