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Reflections from Public Finance Live 2022

Claire Tomlinson

My colleagues and I were delighted to be back at Public Finance Live in person last week. It was great to catch up with so many Directors of Finance at the CIPFA President’s dinner, in between sessions, and on our stand.

Justine Greening (Chair of Social Mobility Pledge, Purpose Coalition and Purpose Goals) opened the conference with a challenge to delegates: what are their organisations doing to accelerate social mobility through ‘levelling up’, and how are they measuring the change in opportunities?

At IMPOWER, we believe that re-framing challenges, and re-thinking boundaries, will enable organisations to level up, and that is the exact approach we took with Surrey County Council, who joined us on the stage for our workshop ‘Levelling up in practice: delivering positive outcomes for citizens’.

The closing session of day one acknowledged that sustainability is everyone’s responsibility, and it sits at the heart of the public sector. At its core, the purpose of the public sector is to build and maintain sustainable communities. And Michael Smith (Programme Director at Surrey County Council) highlighted this as the key driver behind Surrey’s ‘Twin Track’ programme, with the vision being: ‘no one left behind’.

IMPOWER’s EDGEWORK® methodology puts working in the ‘influenceable’ space at the forefront of delivering sustainable change. Only by working with residents, partners and supply chains to understand and change behaviours can we achieve true sustainability.

Day two saw Jeremy Pocklington talk about a strong and effective local government sector and how the new Office for Local Government will publish data and an annual report on the sector performance to demonstrate value for money. Yet, the data is already publicly available.

At IMPOWER we know that data and insights are needed to improve outcomes and performance in these very complex and demanding times, and that’s why we developed the IMPOWER Index. The IMPOWER Index can help you to review whether your investments in public services are working, and how to alter the focus of your resources to meet your council’s goals and priorities.

By quickly identifying challenging areas and addressing problems at their source, you can create a focused reframed ambition, re-evaluate resource allocation, and start to see your council thriving. To receive a digital copy of your council’s top-level Index, please get in touch.

The central government rhetoric seemed to pit local government against each other through rounds of bidding for future pots of money rather than collaborating to help the weakest in the sector. What we saw at Public Finance Live was a strong and vibrant community of public finance professionals who, in their very nature, are resilient. But in a post-pandemic era, this resilience shouldn’t be taken for granted. This is something we are helping councils to build on using IMPOWER’s Resilience Framework. We are currently refreshing our view on what it takes to build resilience and would love to hear your experiences, so please do get in touch!

Written by

Claire Tomlinson

Delivery Director, IMPOWER



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