Magazine article Public Finance

Maurice Stonefrost 1927-2008

Magazine article Public Finance

Maurice Stonefrost 1927-2008

Article excerpt

Maurice Stonefrost, who died on October 25, was one of the great public servants, upholding the highest standards of integrity and promoting the public interest in the most objective sense of the term.

He was also a man of huge charm and intellect and his death has robbed CIPFA, the wider profession and indeed society in general of an outstanding personality.

Maurice's professional career culminated in his appointment as director general of the Greater London Council, where he had to manage an extraordinarily complex situation, including acute political tensions both within the council and between it and central government. He rose to the post after U years as comptroller of finance, where he developed a formidable reputation as an expert in local government finance.

Maurice brought a depth of understanding and strategic vision to the role, which established his reputation both as the foremost practitioner and as the person who best understood the consequences of inaction by government and the implications of proposed reforms.

In addition to his 'day iob', Maurice was a member of the Layfield Committee on Local Government Finance, which reported in 1976; the leader of a team sent to investigate the finances of Liverpool City Council in 1985; and a member of, or adviser to, many committees inquiring into local government issues.

On his retirement from the GLC, he established a new and demanding career. He was appointed chair of Municipal Mutual, when that company got itself into financial difficulty in the 1990s financial crisis, and became chair and chief executive of the British Rail Pension Fund. He also held various other positions, including chairing the Speaker's Committee on Citizenship.

Before joining the GLC in 1973, Maurice had been secretary of CIPFA, a post he was appointed to in 1964. During this period he transformed the institute from a narrowly based local government institute to one encompassing the whole of the public sector (hence the change of name from the Institute of Municipal Treasurers and Accountants to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy).

But he did more than that. His vision led to two other important changes that affected not only the institute but also the wider accountancy profession. One was the development of accounting technicians. The second was to move the institute from a peripheral accountancy body into the mainstream profession, ensuring that the accountancy profession became more aware of and interested in the public sector. …

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