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CIPFA AGM 2023 Questions

I HAVE ASKED CIPFA THE Following questions:


Rumours are emerging that after over a year of negotiations they have stalled!

(a) Can CIPFA confirm these negotiations are still live?

(b) Can CIPFA provide an update on the progress of these negotiations at its forthcoming agm for its members?

(c) Can CIPFA provide future quarterly updates on the progress of these negotiations for its members?

(d) Can CIPFA explain why it appears not to have provided member updates on these negotiations to date?

This is a critical issue for CIPFA members and a thorough explanation of what has happened and what the future holds for both CIPFA and the ICAEW is required immediately!

CIPFA needs to act now!


There are some worrying trends in the accounts which should not be hidden by the accounting entries which deal with the discounted CIPFA pension fund liability that CIPFA aims to settle with the Wiltshire Pension Fund.

It is important to analyse CIPFA'S accounts excluding the effects of these pension adjustments!

CIPFA's Sofa ( Income and Expenditure Account) has benefitted from a circa £18.8 m credit which was entirely a technical adjustment directly related to its settlement of its £30.5 m pensions liability with Wiltshire Pension Fund by the substitution of a discounted £11.7 m liability with that Fund.

(a) Can CIPFA confirm that this is an increase in its reserves which is not backed by cash resources?

(b) It appears that CIPFA will need to pay Wiltshire a discounted amount of £11.7 m to settle its pensions liability.

Given that the 2022 CIPFA Group cash flow has shown a reduction of £675k in cash and cash equivalents the following points are pertinent.

How will this commitment to settle the pensions liability affect CIPFA's cash flow position over the coming years?

Does CIPFA envisage settling this liability with with Wiltshire Pension Fund in the next 5 years?

(c) Excluding the pension adjustments, CIPFA's group surplus in 2022 was £1.142 m compared to £3.474 m in 2021!

This is a reduction of circa 67%!

What are the reasons for such a shocking reduction in CIPFA Group surplus?

How does CIPFA envisage turning this group surplus reduction around?

What are the business plan predictions for CIPFA Group Surplus in the coming years?

(d) CIPFA Group income was £26.603 m in 2021 and £28.843 min 2022, an increase of circa 7%.

Inflation over this period was circa 10%

Why has CIPFA Group income fallen in real terms over this period by circa 3%?

What is CIPFA doing to rectify this real reduction in Group income?

What are CIPFA's business plan estimates of its Group income over the forthcoming years?

(e) On examining the group expenditure of CIPFA it is crucial to exclude the pension credit of circa £18.8 m as this greatly distorts the true picture.

CIPFA Group expenditure in 2022 was £27.341 m. It was £23.129 m in 2021. This is a huge annual increase of around £4.2 m or an increase of around 18%!

Can CIPFA provide a full explanation for this huge annual increase in its group costs?

What steps is CIPFA taking to assert more control over its group expenditure?

What are CIPFA's business plan estimates of group expenditure over the coming years?

(f) The 2022 CIPFA Group Accounts show an organisation with reducing real group income, hugely increased group expenditure with group cash durplus falling by over a half!

What are the executive and non executive wings of CIPFA doing to rectify this situation ?


The current chief executive of CIPFA also has a role as chair of a health authority Board.

Given all the changes CIPFA faces:

Why is the Chief Executive role of leading CIPFA not deemed to be a full time job?

Is the Chief Executive of CIPFA remunerated as a full time CIPFA employee?

How much time does the Chief Executive devote to CIPFA matters compared with his time devoted to NHS board matters?

Has the non executive wing of CIPFA investigated any potential conflicts of interest resulting from the duality of the current Chief Executive's role?

What steps might the non executive wing of CIPFA take to mitigate/eliminate any such potential conflicts of interest?

How has the non executive wing of CIPFA monitored and advised on CIPFA's current and future financial position and viability?


A worrying picture of CIPFA’s current position has been presented and must be tackled.

Can CIPFA provide a detailed written response to its members covering all the aforementioned questions I have asked?

Will the non executive wing of CIPFA now Institute an independent enquiry into the future direction and viability of CIPFA - reporting directly to its members?

I will be presenting these questions to the CIPFA general secretary and my CIPFA Council member. I trust they will act accordingly!


When conducting an inquiry into CIPFA there are several key points that should be addressed These points can help identify areas of concern and potential improvements. Here are some important aspects to consider:

Mission and Objectives: Evaluate CIPFA's mission statement and objectives to determine if they are clear, relevant, and aligned with the needs of the community or cause they aim to serve. Assess whether CIPFA has strayed from its original purpose or if its objectives were unrealistic or poorly defined.

Governance and Leadership: Examine CIPFA 's governance structure, including the board of directors, executive leadership, and management practices. Assess if there are any conflicts of interest, lack of transparency, or issues related to accountability.

Evaluate the competence and effectiveness of the leadership team in managing CIPFA's operations and finances.

Financial Management: Scrutinise CIPFA's financial practices, including budgeting, financial controls, and reporting. Look for signs of financial mismanagement, such as unsustainable spending, inadequate financial reserves, or inappropriate use of funds.

Analyse CIPFA's revenue sources, fundraising strategies, and relationships.

Program Effectiveness: Evaluate the impact and effectiveness of CIPFA's programs and services. Assess whether they are meeting their intended goals and making a meaningful difference in the lives of the intended beneficiaries. Determine if there are any gaps in program design, implementation, or evaluation.

Funding: Assess CIPFA's funding efforts and its ability to attract and retain funding.

Evaluate the diversification of funding sources, engagement strategies, and stewardship practices.

Determine if there have been any ethical or legal issues related to funding activities.

External Factors: Consider external factors that may have contributed to CIPFA's challenges, such as changes in the socio-economic environment, increased competition, or shifts in public opinion. Evaluate CIPFA's ability to adapt to changing circumstances and seize new opportunities.

Stakeholder Engagement: Assess CIPFA's relationships with key stakeholders, including beneficiaries, volunteers, staff, and partners. Determine if there have been any breakdowns in communication, collaboration, or trust. Analyse CIPFA's reputation and public perception.

Compliance and Legal Obligations: Review CIPFA's compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and reporting requirements. Assess whether CIPFA has faced any legal issues, investigations, or regulatory sanctions.

Organizational Culture: Evaluate CIPFA's culture, values, and internal dynamics. Assess if there are any signs of toxic work environments, poor morale, or lack of commitment to the mission. Examine CIPFA's organizational policies, procedures, and practices related to staff recruitment, training, and retention.

Lessons Learned and Future Recommendations: Identify lessons learned from CIPFA's challenges and make recommendations for improvement.

Outline specific actions that could be taken to address the identified issues and enhance CIPFA's chances of success in the future.

Conducting an inquiry into CIPFA will require thorough investigation, sensitivity, and impartiality. It may be helpful to involve external experts or auditors to ensure an objective assessment of CIPFA’s operations and governance.

Can I ask the CIPFA Council to instigate such an independent examination forthwith in line with the above stated guidelines and reporting to CIPFA members within 6 months?

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