Professor David Heald

Current Work

Professor David Heald Most of my research time is committed to: public audit (Leverhulme-funded project); fiscal transparency (my original UK focus has internationalised); public sector corporate governance; devolved public finance (devolved government came to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1999 and Scotland voted No in an Independence referendum on 18 September 2014); and government accounting reform (particularly proposed European harmonisation, and accounting for Public-Private Partnerships and government guarantees). Thanks to externally funded research leave (Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Support Research Fellowship, 2010-11, and Leverhulme Trust, 2012-15), I have had time to engage on major writing projects on public expenditure and public audit. Although the main focus of my work is on the United Kingdom, I am greatly interested in comparative developments across the world, both with regard to government accounting and fiscal decentralisation. The explicit links stressed by HM Treasury between public expenditure planning and fiscal policy stimulated me to examine the substance and rhetoric of fiscal transparency. On the more general relevance of transparency to public policy, I published in 2006 an edited book Transparency: The Key to Better Governance? with Christopher Hood (Gladstone Emeritus Professor of Government, All Souls College, Oxford). With Christopher Hood and Rozana Himaz (Oxford Brookes), I have edited When the Party's Over: The Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective, published in October 2014 by Oxford University Press as Proceedings of the British Academy 197. This book has three analytical chapters and nine country case studies of historical episodes of fiscal squeeze. With Tom Mullen (Glasgow) and Gordon Marnoch (Ulster), I am currently directing an ESRC-funded project on 'Communicating Brexit's Impact on the Law, Governance and Public Finances of the UK Devolved Nations and the Republic of Ireland'. The project website can be found here.