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Keynote Speaker

Michael McGrath, T.D.,

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Chair’s Foreword

Public Affairs Ireland is delighted to confirm the arrangements for this year’s Corporate Governance Conference. The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies is based on the underlying principles of good governance: accountability, transparency, probity and a focus on the sustainable success of the organisation over the longer term. It is five years since the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies was revised and updated. However, the Code’s principles are even more relevant today, in an era of unprecedented challenges, ranging from Brexit, Covid-19 to Climate Change.

Our conference brings together a host of key industry experts and provides a forum to reflect on the corporate governance demands in today’s world. The keynote address will be given by Michael McGrath, T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, whose Department is responsible for the ‘Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies’. Our expert speakers will address a range of issues in the area of Corporate Governance which have emerged in recent times and which go to the heart of how State Sponsored Bodies have to operate. In the plethora of Covid-generated activity, it is imperative that the Boards of these bodies do not lose sight of their central functions .

I look forward to chairing the Conference.

Tom Ferris

Consultant Economist


The 1 September 2016 marked the publication of the revised and updated Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. Published by Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, the code was aimed at strengthening the underlying principles of good governance: accountability, transparency, probity, and a focus on the long-term sustainable success of the organisation.

Following a period of extraordinary uncertainty, crisis management and deference of some traditional Board responsibilities to management roles– How do we regroup, reset, and apply these principles of good governance in 2021 and beyond?

This year’s PAI’s Corporate Governance conference aims to review the lasting effects of innovation adopted by public sector organisations in a time of crisis, to identify what’s been left behind in its recovery and re-imagine the boards responsibility in driving progress forward.


This conference brings together a host of key industry experts and provides a forum to reflect on the effectiveness of recent corporate governance complexities through our programme of Public Sector relevant themes including:

  • The Board’s Role in Crisis Management – Securing the framework for Organisational Resilience.
  • Recalibrate Board Dynamics – Responsibilities of the Board/ Management.
  • AOB on EDI? – Moving up the Agenda and Prioritising Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.
  • Corporate Accountability – Ethics and Corporate Compliance.
  • EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).


This conference provides attendees with the ideal opportunity and a stimulating forum to discuss critical topics for the future of corporate governance, a comparative and interdisciplinary approach and provides a key networking opportunity for industry peers working within the Public Sector.


Conference Schedule – To be Finalised


9-00 – 9.05

Opening Address
Emma McBride, Chief Operations Officer, Public Affairs Ireland


9.05 – 9.15

Conference Overview & Context
Conference Chairperson, Tom Ferris, Economic Consultant


09.15 – 09.35

Keynote Address
Strengthening Board Independence, Measuring Progress and Equality Budgeting – a Progress Report on the New Guidance for State Bodies, Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies 2016
Michael McGrath, T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform


9.35 – 10.10

Emerging board priorities in corporate governance:

  • Evolving requirements of boards on ESG
  • Individual accountability vs collective responsibility
  • Organisational values and culture enabling or hindering change?

Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland


10.10 – 10.45

AOB on EDI? – Moving up the Agenda and Prioritising Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
Julie Hutton, Head of Operations, Irish Centre for Diversity.


10.45 – 11.00 –

Panel Engagement & Q&A (15 mins)


11.00 – 11.30 –

Networking Coffee Break (30 mins)


11.30 – 12.05

Nobody loves us and we don’t care – HSE, Sláintecare and the changing future of public health services.

Anthony Staines, Professor of Health Systems,
Centre for eIntegrated Care and School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.


12.05 – 12.35

The Board’s role in crisis management

When something goes wrong in an organisation the Board will always find itself in the spotlight, receiving scrutiny from all stakeholders such as investors and regulators, as well as the media. Examples of Boards featuring in news headlines are easy to come by. Effective Boards are better equipped to not only navigate crisis but to tackle challenges that regularly occur within the boardroom. In this session we will look at Board effectiveness through the lens of crisis.

Melissa Scully, Director, Corporate Governance Leaders, Deloitte


12.35 – 1.15

Simulated Risk Reputation and Crisis Management – A Boards Response
Conference Exercise (Boardroom Break-out Rooms) – Facilitated by PAI training partners Reputation Inc.

Coordinate your response, validate the plan, and develop your leadership skills. Join us for our boardroom breakout rooms, the
final element of our conference event. Led by PAI’s training partners Reputation Inc. Participants will be jettisoned into a discussion-based breakout group to work on a well-defined problem. Participants will benefit from peer experience and facilitator guidance to
grow their confidence in handling a crisis, reacting quickly and to ready resources in its response and recovery.

Robert Brown
Director of ReputationInc



Download full conference brochure here – Corporate Governance Conference – October 2021


Keynote Speaker – Michael McGrath, T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Michael is currently a TD for Cork South Central and is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Michael secured a first-class honours Commerce degree in UCC and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Cork City. Before going into politics full time, Michael held senior positions in both the private sector (Financial Controller, RedFM) and public sector (Head of MIS, UCC). He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and has served on that body’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. Michael has also undertaken studies with the London School of Economics and Political Science. In his time in the Dáil, Michael has served on a number of Oireachtas committees including the Finance Committee, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry, the European Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael is responsible for delivering well-managed and well-targeted public spending, through modernised, effective and accountable public services. The department oversees the implementation of the National Development Plan, drives the programme of public service reform, and has a key role in decisions made across government.


Chairperson – Tom Ferris

Tom FerrisTom Ferris is a consultant economist. He has wide experience in the public sector and the private realm. He has chaired six Value for Money Reviews for the Irish Government; the most recent being for the Department of Health on Value for Money Review of Nursing Home Care Costs. He organises regular short courses on the Public Spending Code at Public Affairs Ireland. He has published widely on regulatory economics, good governance and transport planning. He was formally the Senior Economist at the Department of Transport in Ireland. He is a former President of the Chartered Institute of Transport. His monthly blogs on economic matters are published on www.pai.ie .



Melissa Scully is a Director in our Risk Advisory practice and leads our Deloitte Ireland Centre for Corporate Governance. Melissa specialises in Board effectiveness and corporate governance across all industries, and brings insight into the challenges facing Boards and Directors. Her clients range from public sector organisations and financial services institutions to FTSE 100 companies. She has delivered over 75 Board effectiveness and governance engagements across Ireland and Europe to include: conducting independent Board effectiveness reviews, providing advisory support for companies going through IPO, developing governance policy frameworks and designing governance structures and processes. She also undertakes benchmarking exercises for many companies keen to meet current standards for best practice and bespoke training for Boards and committees.


Níall Fitzgerald (FCA), Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland
Níall leads the delivery of strategic objectives on business ethics and governance across operations, including policy, member support and resources, and engagement with regulators, standard setters and other stakeholders. Níall is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Sustainability Expert Working Party and also a European Corporate Governance Advisory Group. He is passionate about internal implementation of sustainability initiatives and applying sustainability reporting frameworks. His non-executive experience includes being a trustee of an occupational pension scheme, member of a governance and risk committee for an Irish charity and chair of a panel of judges for the Good Governance Awards in Ireland. Níall is the author of a number of expert guides and articles on ethics, organisational culture and corporate governance, as well as having produced a number of compliance toolkits for the audit and accounting profession.


Julie Hutton, Head of Operations, Irish Centre for Diversity.
As an ICFD and NCFD Advisor, Julie works to advance Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion for all in the workplace, working with organisations across all sectors, to deliver personal training as well the Investors in Diversity and Leaders in Diversity accreditations. Julie is a quality consultant and assessor with a successful track record in implementing quality and performance monitoring initiatives within the public and service sectors. Her areas of expertise include quality assurance frameworks, benchmarking strategies and methodologies, research and evaluation with internal and external customers, assessment and verification, document control and record management. Julie has achieved numerous qualifications and certificates and particularly excels in IT-based data analysis and statistical breakdown.


Anthony Staines, Professor of Health Systems, Centre for eIntegrated Care and School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.
Anthony Staines is an epidemiologist and a public health consultant whose research focuses on the uses of information in health systems. He has a particular interest in child health and disability. Working closely with the Health Intelligence Unit in the Health Services Executive in Ireland, he has led a number of projects to deliver innovative health information approaches in Ireland and Europe. He teaches on programs in public health and health systems within DCU, and on digital health in an innovative national program led by the Health Services Executive. He was formerly the chair of the Irish Blood Transfusion service, and now leads St. Michael’s House, one of the larger providers of services for people with Intellectual Disability in Ireland. He is a Chartered Director.


Robert Brown is a Director in Reputation Inc and has been with the business for over nine years. He has experience across all aspects of reputation management and is a specialist in corporate communications, investor relations, and stakeholder management. Robert also has extensive experience in reputation evaluation and he is the business’ Reputation Intelligence lead in Dublin.
Robert is particularly active in devising and implementing materiality programmes, working with clients to identify the key priorities and trigger points for their stakeholders.




Full Course Details

Title: PAI’s Corporate Governance Conference
Date: Thursday 21st October 2021
Time: 9.00am – 1.15pm
CPD: 4 CPD Hours
Method of Delivery: Online
Fee: €325



Tailored Training 

All of our open programmes can also be run on an in-house basis. For more information, see our page on In-House Training.




Participant limits apply, secure your place now.

Multiple Delegate Discount

3+ Delegates – 5% Discount
5+ Delegates – 10% Discount
10+ Delegates – 15% Discount

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