Professor David Heald

Impact of Research

  • David Heald’s research on public expenditure planning, capital charging, Private Finance Initiative, infrastructure accounting and the financing of devolved government was heavily used in the OECD’s June 2000 Economic Survey of the United Kingdom. His articles on capital charging, consolidation principles for government accounting, concession accounting and the Private Finance Initiative were cited in the OECD’s 2001 Managing Public Expenditure: A Reference Book for Transition Countries, published by the SIGMA Programme. His 2003 analysis of the Private Finance Initiative has been cited in IMF policy documents (2005) on public investment and fiscal risk. His proposal that the public sector client should disclose the private sector partner’s balance sheet treatment is adopted in the IMF’s Economic Issues 40 (2007, page 15). 
  • David Heald has been awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Support Research Fellowship for the academic year 2010-11. This means that he will spend that year researching "Improving the Quality of Public Expenditure", with his teaching and administrative duties undertaken by a replacement member of academic staff. The synopsis of his project appear here. This Fellowship will also allow him to accept speaking engagements which would otherwise be incompatible with University commitments.
  • David Heald’s role from 1989 to 2010 as specialist adviser on public expenditure and government accounting to the Treasury Committee of the UK House of Commons meant that he was heavily involved in Resource Accounting and Budgeting (the implementation of accruals accounting and budgeting in UK central government), a project which began in November 1993. He has strongly supported the idea of Whole of Government Accounts, some of his writing being included in the Treasury's (1998) Scoping Study.
  • From 1 August 2004 to 31 July 2009, he was a member of the Financial Reporting Advisory Board, having been nominated as an independent economist by the Head of the Government Economic Service. Minutes of meetings since February 2005 are available here. In a personal capacity, he sometimes responds to consultations launched by accounting regulators. For example, he submitted comments to the International Accounting Standards Board’s 2006 consultation on the IASB/FASB Conceptual Framework project. Also, he submitted comments to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board’s 2008 consultation on accounting for service concession agreements (ie PFIs or PPPs). 
  • David Heald has contributed over many years to the development of UK policy on devolution finance, having named the Barnett formula; extensively analysed its operation and impacts; and devised schemes of devolution finance. A systematic exposition of UK territorial public finance appears here and a numerical analysis here
  • David Heald’s co-edited book on transparency with Christopher Hood (Oxford) has been extensively reviewed and has been cited in policy documents and in the research literature across several disciplines. 
  • In November 2006, David Heald responded to a request from the Fiscal Transparency Code Review Team of the International Monetary Fund to comment on proposed changes to the Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency. The revised Code was approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on 8 May 2007.