Professor David Heald

Writing in Progress

  • After devoting most of his research time in recent years to public expenditure processes/mechanisms and to government accounting choices, David Heald is reviving an earlier strand of his work on substantive choices facing political decision-makers on public expenditure. A chapter titled 'Rethinking public expenditure from a social democratic perspective' was published in a 2013 book, and will be the first of several such contributions to public debate.
  • David Heald both co-organised and contributed to the conference on 'When the Party's Over: The Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective', held at the British Academy on 9-10 July 2013. In October 2014, Christopher Hood (Oxford), David Heald and Rozana Himaz (Oxford Brookes) published the resulting book of the same title as Proceedings of the British Academy 197 (Oxford, Oxford University Press). There are three analytical chapters by the editors and nine historical country case studies written by national experts. This engagement with fiscal squeeze and austerity has stimulated work on taxation, which had in the past largely been a teaching rather than research interest.
  • Together with Ron Hodges (Birmingham Business School), David Heald has published a 2015 article on the EPSAS project, a proposal from Eurostat on behalf of the European Commission for EU-wide harmonisation of public sector accounting standards. They establish the link to austerity and fiscal squeeze, and will continue to analyse the development of this far-reaching project.
  • After publishing a 2006 edited book (Transparency: The Key to Better Governance?) with Christopher Hood (Emeritus Gladstone Professor of Government, All Souls College, Oxford), David Heald has written further papers about transparency: Why is transparency about public expenditure so elusive? (2012); a journal article on the Audit Commission's now-abolished Use of Resources assessment of English local authorities (2013); an internationally-oriented book chapter on Strengthening fiscal transparency; and a think-piece for the Global Intitiative for Fiscal Transparency. Both as a generic topic and as a theme in his applied research, transparency will figure prominently in David Heald's future research and publication.
  • The main output from his 2012-15 Leverhulme project on 'The architecture, governance and substance of UK public audit' will be a series of articles on public audit. Public audit is conceptualised as a potentially valuable instrument for achieving fiscal transparency to stakeholders who do not have hierarchical power over governments.
  • David Heald is working with David Steel (Aberdeen) to write up, publish and disseminate the results of their British Academy small grant project on the governance of UK public bodies. The first article, on the relationship between Chairs and Chief Executives, was published in 2015, with a second paper on the role of Boards in the pipeline.

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