The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy believes that a strong chief financial officer providing robust financial advice as an equal member of the local authority leadership team will be critical to the successful navigation of the difficult times to come.
This is why we will be publishing for consultation an updated version of our 2003 statement on the role of the chief finance officer (CFO) in local government for consultation.
The revised statement comprises five principles:
- The CFO should be a key member of the leadership team, helping it to develop and implement strategy and to resource and deliver the organisation’s strategic objectives sustainably and in the public interest.
- They must be actively involved in, and able to bring influence to bear on, all material business decisions to ensure immediate and longer-term implications, opportunities and risks are fully considered and aligned with the organisation’s financial strategy.
- They must lead the promotion and delivery by the whole organisation of good financial management so that public money is safeguarded at all times and used appropriately, economically, efficiently and effectively.
- To deliver these responsibilities the CFO must lead and direct a finance function that is resourced to be fit for purpose; they must be professionally qualified and suitably experienced.
- The CFO is defined as the most senior executive charged with leading and directing financial strategy and operations in a local authority. The new statement is clear that CFOs must be in a position to carry out their financial leadership responsibilities effectively. We are therefore working to introduce a new ‘comply or explain’ duty for local authorities.
Ian Carruthers, director of policy and technical, CIPFA