Insights provide detailed commentary and analysis on current issues and developments affecting public financial management and governance.


 Managing rising demand in adult and children’s social care (PDF, 1030KB)

This report, written by CIPFA Social Care Policy Advisor Dr William Burns, revisits some of the case studies included in Planning to deliver (2020), and produces new case studies on how local authorities in England are approaching the challenge of managing rising demand in adult and children’s social care. We also draw out lessons in good practice and discuss the role of the public finance profession in delivering on these lessons.


Impower logo

Roundtable: Are there any good savings left? Improving outcomes and financial management (PDF, 126KB)

This CIPFA and Impower round table explored the challenges in delivering sustainable savings given financial constraints across public services. This briefing therefore outlines strategies that show promise for delivering better outcomes that cost less.


Unit 4 logo

Roundtable: the evolving challenges facing non-profit organisations (PDF, 93KB)

This CIPFA and Unit 4 roundtable discussion in November 2023 considered the evolving and multifaceted challenges facing non-profit organisations in financial reporting, as well as the evolving landscape that now calls for collaborative efforts across both processes and practices.



Norse Group Logo

Roundtable: How can local government meet its net zero ambitions in a time of great financial challenges? (PDF, 69KB)

This CIPFA and Norse group roundtable discussion in October 2023 considered the range of initiatives to help local government achieve net zero. Although various challenges were identified, there are also potential solutions that would allow the sector to lead by example.



Graphic for invitation to participate with image of 3 colleagues in work attire surrounding a laptop on a desk

Exploring levels of preventative investment in local government in England - an invitation to participate (PDF, 347KB)

This initial briefing is an invitation to participate and a beckoning towards a shared vision where health is a collective responsibility. We encourage local authorities to collaborate with CIPFA and the Health Foundation to develop a clearer understanding of current levels of preventative investment. In doing so, we will lay the groundwork for thinking about prevention differently, moving towards a culture that views health as an asset.

To learn more about the project and how you can get involved, please contact Zachary Scott (Policy Researcher on Prevention, CIPFA)


Investing in regional equality four English examples report front cover 

Investing in regional equality: four English examples

Using the nine success factors identified in CIPFA’s 2022 report, we examine the experiences of four areas in England: Dudley, Enfield, South Yorkshire and Tees Valley, and how they are applying the approaches used successfully by international cities to overcome social and economic inequalities. We discuss how these place-based strategies require the alignment of good public financial management with a range of non-financial factors.




Group of people sitting around a laptop 


Approaching the Section 25 statement (PDF, 183KB)

Our Approaching the Section 25 statement briefing builds on a round table hosted by CIPFA, which explored how Section 25 statements have evolved. The round table brought together experienced local government CFOs from across the country to share their insights on how to improve the effectiveness of these key documents.


Man hugging woman sitting on bench 

Charging for adult social care in England: reform and routes forward (PDF, 1.7Mb)

This report, written by CIPFA Social Care Policy Advisor Dr William Burns, discusses the current charging system, the government’s proposed reforms and aspirations for adult social care charging reform. CIPFA proposes five principles for a sustainable and equitable social care system and assesses whether possible routes forward fulfil these principles. We also make recommendations to government on adult social care charging reform.


Unit 4 logo 

CIPFA and Unit 4 Roundtable: Transformation and collaboration; surviving uncertainty? (PDF, 86KB)

A summary of a Roundtable held by CIPFA and Unit 4 in September 2023, following Unit 4’s survey ‘The State of the Digital Nation 2023’. How can outcomes of transformation projects in local government be achieved – and how can people, processes and cultural shifts be considered?


Exploring blockchain technologies for collaboration and partnerships (PDF, 8Mb)

Blockchain technology can revolutionise collaboration and partnerships in the public sector via practical guidance and real-world case studies. This report cuts through the hype, highlighting the potential benefits and limitations of blockchain while providing a decision-making framework for successful implementation.

Report cover showing five power station chimneys with one emitting white smoke 

Public financial management can lead on climate action: the case for carbon pricing (PDF, 7Mb)

By integrating climate considerations into performance measurement, reporting and spending decisions, public finance professionals can play an important role in advancing the global adoption of carbon pricing.

CIPFA Thinks AFEP consultancy learning report 

Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing (AFEP) II: Learning from consultancy projects (PDF, 449KB)

This report by CIPFA details the areas of consultancy support undertaken with forces as part of the AFEP II programme.

Cover of the Integrating care: policy, principles and practice for places report

Integrating care: policy, principles and practice for places

CIPFA’s publication ‘Integrating care: policy, principles and practice for places’ provides an overview of the changes as a result of the Health and Care Act 2022 and what integration is seeking to achieve. It considers the wider health and care landscape and addresses the remaining challenges at place level.

Implementation of the Financial Management Code report cover 

Implementation of the financial management code

Civica sponsored insight into the implementation and strengthening of financial management via CIPFA's Financial Management Code.

Performance tracker 2022 

Performance Tracker 2022

The Performance Tracker assesses how public services have coped with the aftermath of the pandemic and the outlook for the remainder of this Parliament.

Front cover of a report on authorties issuing Section 114 notices for councils unable to balance their books 

Learning lessons: what Section 114 can teach us

This report explores Section 114 notices as well as common trends and themes around financial management and governance in local authorities.


CIPFA inflation outlook

CIPFA’s Inflation Outlook briefing reflect the results of our Local Government survey on the impact of inflation on budgets.

Innovative financing mechanisms for levelling up social outcomes 

Innovative financing mechanisms for levelling up social outcomes (PDF, 2.1MB)

This new report by CIPFA and University of Oxford's Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) examines different mechanisms that could be used to put a price on the social value of public expenditure.

 Cover image of the Internal audit: Untapped potential report

Internal audit: untapped potential (PDF, 1.17MB)

Using data collected from over 800 internal auditors and management professionals, we look at where the profession is currently making an impact, the areas where it can do more, what's holding it back, and its future potential.

Thumbnail image for CIPFA Thinks insights report - Government of Uganda: integrity focal persons 

Government of Uganda: Integrity focal persons (PDF, 2.73MB)

This report explores the Government of Uganda's zero tolerance to corruption policy and how CIPFA is helping to support this.

Public sector as regulator and reporter 

Sustainability insights

Following on from CIPFA's report on climate accountability, this set of four papers considers key questions for public sector reporting: what standards should be used, how to maintain consistency between individual entities, and more.

CIPFA Thinks: Financial resilience self-assessment and medium-term financial planning toolkit 

Financial resilience self-assessment and medium-term financial planning toolkit (PDF, 1.93MB)

Published as part of Achieving Finance Excellence in Policing (AFEP), this report brings together the themes of financial resilience and medium-term planning in a single toolkit to help police forces and PCCs ensure the sustainability of vital public services.

Financial Resilience Index briefing notes 

Financial Resilience Index briefing notes (PDF, 180KB)

This briefing looks at the Financial Resilience Index and the key messages from the data. This year represents a transitional year for local authorities due to the pandemic. Reserves reflect a temporary position and pressure is still being faced by the sector.

Importance of financial resilience 

The importance of financial resilience (PDF, 110KB)

This briefing accompanies the CIPFA Financial Resilience Index. It looks at what is meant by financial resilience and explores the main indicators of poor financial resilience.

Managing public finance 

Managing public finances to achieve fairer outcomes (PDF, 2.7MB)

An assessment of how a whole system approach to public financial management (PFM) can be utilised in addressing regional inequalities, through the application of performance tracking, value for money, and financial resilience best practice.

Investing in regional equality 

Investing in regional equality – lessons from four cities

A collaboration between CIPFA and the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI) at the University of Birmingham, exploring what cities have been doing to reduce inequality. Its findings are intended to assess what "levelling up" looks like in a broad context, while providing evidence-based guidance so future government policies can be as impactful and targeted as possible.

Performance Tracker 2021 

Performance tracker 2021 (PDF, 6.16MB)

This Institute for Government/CIPFA report assesses how nine public services in England – hospitals, GPs, adult social care, police, criminal courts, prisons, schools, children's social care and neighbourhood services – have coped with the coronavirus crisis and what pressures they are expected to face over the next three years.

CIPFA report on global perspectives on universal basic income 

Global perspectives on universal basic income (PDF, 2.21MB)

This report explores what effect the pandemic has had on universal basic income (UBI) programmes and what the future may hold for them. It also reflects on the potential impacts that a policy such as UBI may have on public finances and how these might be addressed.

The future financial sustainability of health and social care 

The future financial sustainability of health and social care (PDF, 313KB)

This briefing builds on a joint HFMA and CIPFA roundtable discussion on the Health and Care Bill. It considers whether the bill enables the change that the health and social care system needs, both in the short term as the country seeks to recover from the pandemic and in the longer term as the sector more fully addresses population health and wellbeing.

CIPFA report on VfM analysis for public managers 

A guide to support Value for Money (VfM) analysis for public managers (PDF, 293KB)

Funded by the Engagement Fellowship grant from the University of Oxford's Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), this guide complements the separately published VfM toolkit. Both are the result of a collaborative project between CIPFA and the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab).

CIPFA report on the art of local government reorganisation 

The art of local government reorganisation (PDF, 161KB)

Following CIPFA's The Art of Reorganisation webinar and preceding a publication of the same name due later this year, this paper opens the debate and conversation surrounding local government reorganisation.

Post-COVID-19 scenario planning report by CIPFA Unit 4

Post-COVID-19 scenario planning: a survey sponsored by Unit4 (PDF, 3.43MB)

This report brings together the results of research conducted by CIPFA and sponsored by Unit4 into how local government and others have approached budgeting during the pandemic and how they intend to move forward in a post-COVID-19 world.

CIPFA levelling up report cover

Addressing regional inequalities: levelling to where? (PDF, 6.36MB)

The government's levelling up agenda seeks to expand upon the UK Industrial Strategy's framework, and this report explores what the agenda hopes to achieve ahead of the White Paper expected at the end of 2021.

Local government grants

Local government grants: how effectively do they support communities? (PDF, 2.79MB)

Sponsored by Capita and set in the wider economic and government policy context, this report sets out the complexities of the grant funding landscape, assessing grant disbursement during the pandemic and illustrating some of the issues and inefficiencies inherent in the system.

Facing up to COVID

Facing Up to COVID-19 in the Public Sector: The internal audit response (PDF, 246KB)

This Insight provides some examples of how internal audit teams across different public services have responded to the challenges of COVID-19.

Manchester libraries

Manchester Libraries - Research into how libraries help people with loneliness and isolation (PDF, 767KB)

This report is based on research that shows how Manchester's libraries bring many benefits to the communities they serve and are extremely well used, that residents' health and wellbeing is improved by using the library, and that people feel better when they use their local library.

Performance tracker 2020

Performance Tracker 2020: How public services have coped with coronavirus (PDF, 3.3MB)

Performance Tracker is an ongoing analysis of the performance of public services.

Road to Reform

The Road to Reform (PDF, 312KB)

Discussing COVID-19 as a potential catalyst for change in funding social care.


Financial scrutiny practice guide

Financial Scrutiny Practice Guide(PDF, 174KB)

Providing guidance on how to integrate an awareness of financial scrutiny for England councils and councillors.

Setting Common Definitions

Internal Audit Engagement Opinions: Setting common definitions (PDF, 218KB)

Considering the use of opinions on engagements completed by internal audit

case for reform cover image

The Case for Reform (PDF, 429KB)

Developing a council tax fit for the 21st century.

gender budgeting cover image

Gender Budgeting for Public Finance(PDF, 315KB)

Written by Angela O'Hagan with additional content from the Women's Budget Group

Making sure public spending and the provision of services benefit both men and women.

Administration in the LGPS insight cover

Administration in the LGPS: A Guide for Pensions Authorities(PDF, 608KB)
Written in partnership with AON

Talent management in government finance cover

Talent Management in Government Finance: Finance Ministries Colloquium Survey Analysis (PDF, 787KB)

Written on behalf of the International Colloquium on Financial Management for National Governments

Changing Children's Lives: Assessing Cost and Demand for Children's Services (PDF, 732KB)

Written by Mike Bennett


Download Building Financial Resilience (PDF, 383KB)

Written by Richard Vize


Download the Levy, Apprenticeships and the Public Sector (PDF, 408 KB)

Written by Neil Merrick

Reality Check

Download Reality Check (PDF, 390 KB)

Next steps in developing sustainability and transformation plans

Accounting for the cloud

Download Accounting for the Cloud (PDF, 1039 KB)

Written by John Thornton (e-ssential Resources) and supported by Microsoft UK

Download Costing the Curriculum: Financial Sustainability in Schools (PDF, 515 KB)

Published jointly by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and CIPFA

next >

Webchat is available Monday to Friday, 09:00 - 17:00 (excluding UK bank holidays).