ACCA hosts first international conference for public sector finance professionals
Effects of global economic conditions to last up to 15 years, say delegates
02 Nov 2009
Delegates at ACCA's first international conference for finance professionals in the public sector have claimed that the impact of the global economic conditions will be felt for years to come.
While many business leaders are reporting some positive signs, the overwhelming majority of finance professionals working in the public sector expect difficulties for at least five years, according to a poll conducted at the Leadership in Public Finance Conference, which ACCA hosted in partnership with the Office for Public Management and Transparency International UK on 23 October in London.
Among the poll's findings were:
- 40% of delegates said they expected the economic downturn to impact on public services for five years
- 35% thought the sector would suffer for 10 years
- almost 15% believed that the downturn would have an impact for 15 years or more
- 30% of the delegates from the UK, mainland Europe, China and Africa believed the worst of the economic downturn is now over, while nearly 50% disagreed
- 80% agreed or strongly agreed that trust in public services is low, and worryingly, 65% of delegates agreed or strongly agreed that fraud and corruption is on the increase in the sector.
The themes explored at the conference included the global view of the economic situation and its impact on the public sector, the future of public sector audit, carbon and green collar issues and unlocking innovation to increase capacity in public services. Those addressing delegates included Nenad Pacek, president, Global Success Advisors Ltd, Martin Evans, managing director of audit, Audit Commission, England and Ian Trumper, treasurer, Transparency International UK.
'There is a strong belief in the public sector that it will feel the economic pain longer than the private sector given that governments need to make savings to pay for measures to beat the recession,' said Gillian Fawcett, ACCA head of public sector.
'The fact that these cutbacks come at a time when expectations are growing about the quality of public services will create even greater difficulties for staff trying to provide those services on tighter budgets and careful thought needs to be given on how savings might be made within the public sector.'