Public Accountability for New Accounting Officers

“Impressed by personalisation of course - research into attendees’ organisation was very evident.”

UK Atomic Energy Authority

Those who are designated as the Accounting (or Accountable) Officer for their organisation are answerable for the oversight of the stewardship of public funds, which will result in their being called upon to give an account to Parliament. It is therefore vital that those in these positions hold accountability at the heart of all their working practices.

This training course is delivered by one of the UK’s most experiences Accountability trainers, who has delivered AO training across all parts of the UK and provided a thorough grounding in the key mechanisms of public accountability. Past attendees have been equipped with an in-depth understanding of how public money should be handled and how public business should be conducted, which has been demonstrated through the use of real-life case studies.

The training is tailored to each attendee’s personal organisational context and the content is continuously updated and refreshed so as to provide delegates with an up-to-date view of central government accountability and governance arrangements.

Public Accountability for New Accounting is one of the most popular courses within our Accountability and Governance series, and offers essential induction training for those in a position of accountability.

At Civil Service College, we pride ourselves on our ability to tailor our courses to each delegate, ensuring that courses are applicable to attendee’s role and organisations so that each delegate can get the most from their training. Our courses and trainers are constantly updated and evaluated to ensure that we are always delivering the best service possible.  

Key features:

  • Practical insight into the roles and responsibilities of an Accounting or Accountable Officer
  • The proper and practical conduct of public business, including operating with regularity and propriety
  • The scrutiny role of the relevant Audit Office and associated Public Accounts Committee (not only in England but also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with reference to the work of local PACs as well as the Westminster Committee)
  • Financial aspects of public accountability for Departments, Executive Agencies and sponsored bodies

Designed for:

This programme is suitable for Chief Executives of Arm's Length Bodies and NHS bodies who have recently been appointed as Accounting or Accountable officers, as well as for senior staff who work in supporting the Accounting or Accountable Officer and who need to understand their role in providing support and assurance.

The course is also particularly suitable for senior staff taking up their first post in the central government sector

Learning outcomes:

Participants will gain a clear understanding of their responsibilities in dealing with public money and learn to ensure that accountability is pivotal to all working practices. Participants will also acquire a comprehensive insight into the personal responsibilities of an Accounting or Accountable Officer, a deeper understanding of the accountability relationship between ALB and NHS boards and their respective sponsoring departments, as well as an update on current developments in governance and accountability in central government.




10:00 - 15:30


£595 + VAT


St James’s Park, London


14 February 2019 Book

15 July 2019 Book

2 October 2019 Book

Lead Trainer

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

With over 10 years of experience in training senior management and board members, Brian is one of the most experienced and authoritative trainers in accountability, governance and financial management in the UK.

Read Bio
Brian Whalley OBE

Brian Whalley OBE

Brian regularly provides induction and board development programmes for non-executive board members of government departments, executive agencies, Non-departmental Public Bodies, NHS bodies and public corporations. He has run programmes for over 100 Non-Departmental Public Bodies, and other Arm's Length Bodies, and is experienced in working in all UK jurisdictions.

Brian has written guidance material on numerous governance topics such as the management of conflicts of interest, as well as a guide to working in central government for newly appointed non-executive board members of government departments.

On an international level, Brian has delivered programmes on accountability, governance and financial management in Macedonia, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Hungary, Poland and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Brian is a qualified management accountant (ACMA), has a teaching qualification, and holds an MA in Management Learning.


‘A Guide to Propriety for RDA Board Members’, Department of Trade and Industry

‘Working in Government: A Guide for Non-executive Board Members of Government Departments’, Cabinet Office


  • Qualified management accountant (ACMA)
  • Holds a teaching qualification
  • MA in Management Learning, University of Lancaster 

“A very useful and relevant programme.”

Local Government Ombudsman

"Excellent Tailoring to needs of the group."

Legal Service Board

Tailored in-house training

Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

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