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Public Sector Conference

The road to net zero - 10 December 2021

The first ever ICAEW public sector conference will be a virtual event focussing on sustainability. The conference will feature high profile speakers, provide attendees with practical tips and demonstrate the importance of the public sector in achieving net zero.

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The conference will raise the profile of and demonstrate the importance of the public sector in achieving net zero.


Get practical ideas of initiating sustainability projects locally, incorporating greater consideration of climate issues.


Be part of an interesting and informative day with a variety of expert speakers.


Join planned smaller group sessions specific to different relevant roles.


The importance of public sector in achieving net zero means we want to make this conference as accessible to all working in the public sector, whether ICAEW members or otherwise.


£25.00 +VAT
Access all of the sessions live

The programme

Opening remarks
ICAEW Chief Executive Michael Izza will open the conference by explaining the importance of the public sector and net zero to ICAEW.
Keynote – Adrian Crompton: The role of public sector financial reporting and audit in achieving net zero
For the opening keynote address, ICAEW is delighted to welcome Adrian Crompton, the Auditor General for Wales and head of the Wales Audit Office. Adrian will talk about his commitment that Audit Wales will use its role to “scrutinise and inspire improvement in climate change action across the Welsh public sector”. He will also answer questions on the role public sector reporting and audit more generally can support the public sector achieve the government’s ambitious target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Panel discussion 1 - Better public sector environmental / sustainability reporting following COP26
As requirements increase on private sector companies, there will be a need for public sector bodies to improve their sustainability reporting. Chaired by Alison Ring, the panel of finance leaders will include Veronica Poole, Deloitte Global IFRS leader, Conrad Hall, Director of Finance and Resources at Newham Borough Council and Cat Little, Director General of Public Spending at HM Treasury.
Smaller group discussion – What can I do to support the path to net zero?
This interactive session will provide a chance to network with peers in the sector, share ideas and obtain practical tips over what you can do in your role to support the path to net zero. An expert in each field will lead a facilitated discussion specific to the various professions working in or with public sector finance teams. The discussion sessions will include: Richard Spencer, Sustainability Director at ICAEW will lead a discussion on the role finance students can play in supporting net zero; Alan Finch, Principal Adviser for Finance at the Local Government Association will lead a discussion on how audit committee members and councillors can scrutinise how effectively their local authority is decarbonising; Pete Leadbetter, Head of Accounting at Network Rail will lead a discussion about the role government finance teams can play in achieving net zero; Vikki Leaney, Climate Change Stakeholder Engagement Officer at Ashden Charity will lead a discussion on how green procurement and community wealth building can play in achieving their net zero targets. There will also be a session focussing on sustainability assurance. You will be able to sign up for one of the sessions when you book onto the conference.
Lunch break
Panel discussion 2 – How can central government support local government in achieving net zero?
One of the authors of the recent NAO study that highlighted weakness in the government’s approach to working with local authorities on decarbonisation will be joined by 3 experts different perspectives to discuss how central government can better support local government in the path to net zero. Chaired by ICAEW’s Henning Diederichs, the panel will include Katy Losse, Manager for Environmental Studies at the NAO, Jo Wheeler, Senior Sustainability Adviser at UK Green Building Council, Cara Jenkinson, Cities Manager at Ashden Climate Solutions and Kate Hand, Head of Climate Change at London Councils.
Keynote – Tony Juniper: Why public sector bodies must take the lead on the path to net zero?
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, will deliver the closing keynote address. He will provide a rallying call of why public sector bodies must take the lead in the path to net zero and inspire attendees to put into practice the practical tips that they have learnt throughout the day.
Closing remarks
Alison Ring, Director for Public Sector and Tax, ICAEW

* Please note that the programme is subject to change.

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Our speakers

Conrad Hall
Conrad Hall Corporate Director of Resources, London Borough of Newham

Conrad has 20 years’ senior financial management experience in London local authorities, the last ten of which have been in chief finance officer roles. He’s a former winner of the Accountancy Age UK Accountant of the Year award, for his work in transforming Lambeth Council. He also chairs the CIPFA/LASAAC board, which is responsible for financial reporting and accounting standards for UK local government.

Michael Izza
Michael Izza Chief Executive, ICAEW

Appointed Chief Executive in 2006, Michael's leadership has seen ICAEW embrace a vision of 'a World of Strong Economies', transforming itself into a professional accountancy body with a truly global identity and reach. He regularly meets ministers, policymakers and regulators around the world, and is a frequent media commentator on economic and business issues.

Tony Juniper
Tony Juniper CBE, Chair, Natural England

Tony is the Chair of the official nature conservation agency Natural England. Previously he was the Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK and President of the Wildlife Trusts. He was the Special Advisor for The Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit and Executive Director at Friends of the Earth.

Picture of Adrian Crompton
Adrian Crompton Auditor General for Wales

As head of the Wales Audit Office, Adrian oversees the annual audit of some £20 billion of taxpayers’ money and is appointed on an eight-year term. Most of Adrian’s career has been spent supporting parliamentary democracy at a Welsh, UK and international level. Prior to his current appointment, he held various senior roles within the National Assembly for Wales and, before then, in the House of Commons.

Vikki Leaney
Vikki Leaney Climate Change Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Ashden

Vikki is part of the Cities Team, based in the North East of England working in partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority on a two-year co-benefits project. Vikki led on a series of workshops for local authorities looking at the opportunities that green procurement and community wealth building can play in achieving their net zero targets.

Veronic Poole
Veronica Poole Global IFRS Leader NSE Head of Accounting and Corporate Reporting

Veronica is a vice chair of Deloitte UK, and Global IFRS and Corporate Reporting leader. She leads Deloitte’s contributions to the WEF IBC Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, and has facilitated the work of the leading sustainability standard-setters to develop a prototype climate standard, helped launch the UK Directors’ Climate Forum—Chapter Zero, and spearheaded Deloitte’s partnership with the A4S Finance for the Future Awards.

Katy Losse photo
Katy Losse Manager for Environmental Studies, National Audit Office

Katy recently led a value-for-money study examining how central government and local authorities are collaborating on net zero, which was published in July 2021. Over the course of a 16-year career at the NAO, Katy worked on a wide range of value for money reports, returning in recent years to focus on work related to government's approach to its climate and wider environmental goals.

Alison Ring, ICAEW's Director, Public Sector
Alison Ring FCA Director for Public Sector and Tax, ICAEW

Alison joined ICAEW in 2019 and leads ICAEW’s policy and technical work examining the public sector. After completing a law degree and qualifying with a medium-sized accountancy firm, she worked in practice for several years before joining HMRC in 1994. She spent 25 years there and ended her career as the Commissioners’ Advisory Accountant.

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Oliver Simms Manager, Public Sector Audit & Assurance, ICAEW

Before joining ICAEW, Oliver worked at the National Audit Office, where he held a variety of audit lead and manager roles of government bodies over six years, including the Department for International Trade and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He is passionate about wildlife and the environment and has volunteered for several conservation charities.

Richard Spencer
Richard Spencer Director of Technical Thought Leadership and Head of Sustainability, ICAEW

Richard joined ICAEW in 2005 to set up the sustainability practice within the technical strategy department. During this time Richard has led on the ICAEW’s thought leadership and engagement programme in sustainability.

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