CNPR Conference on Accounting for the Public Sector at a Time of Crisis (January 2018)
On the 17th and 18th of January 2018, the Centre for Not-for-profit and Public-sector Research (CNPR) at Queen’s University Belfast hosted the Conference “Accounting for the public sector at a time of crisis”.
On the 17th and 18th of January 2018, the Centre for Not-for-profit and Public-sector Research (CNPR) at Queen’s University Belfast hosted the Conference “Accounting for the public sector at a time of crisis”. This took place in the stunning venue of Riddel Hall at Queen’s Management School. The conference was organised by Professors Noel Hyndman, Mariannunziata Liguori and Donal McKillop from the CNPR.
The public sector has been recently facing crises on a number of fronts. New Public Management ideas, initially introduced in the 1980s, have been robustly challenged in terms of their tendency to undermine public values and their failure to deliver better services. The rise in network arrangements, often combining private-sector, public-sector and third-sector contributions (sometimes seen as a way of making more resources available to build public-sector capacity), has been criticised for fragmenting service delivery, reducing accountability and undermining service quality. A period of austerity, following the worldwide financial crisis of 2008, has heralded swingeing cuts in public-sector spending across a range of services as governments seek to control debt and reduce deficits. Demographic changes in the context of an aging population, moreover, have made spending-choice decisions difficult to take and difficult to justify.
During the Conference, academics from all over the world discussed some of these issues, and more, with 45 delegates attending and 21 papers presented. Views and experiences from a number of countries, such as Canada, the UK, Germany and Italy, were presented. Topics spanned from ways in which accounting is mobilised in the identification and management of crises to decision making during severe budget restraint; from the adoption of business practices in the public sector to the understanding of accounting data by political actors; from the impact of economic and financial shocks on the sector to co-production and partnerships in the delivery of services. The conference is associated with a Special Issue of the journal Abacus: “Accounting for the Public Sector at a Time of Crisis”, edited by Professors Noel Hyndman and Donal McKillop.