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Registration Opens 1st September 2022

12 December 2022 - 13 December 2022

9:00AM - 5:00PM

Durham University Business School Mill Hill Lane Durham

  • £80

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This is the image alt text ICOPA International Workshop: What is the future of public accountability in the aftermath of crisis?

Workshop organised by International Centre of Public Accountability (ICOPA), Durham University and related to a Special Issue of Abacus

“What is the future of public accountability in the aftermath of crisis?” 

The International Centre of Public Accountability (ICOPA) at Durham University is delighted to announce its first international workshop that will be held at Durham University on 12th -13th December 2022.

Call for Papers

The recent years have seen an unprecedented stream of unexpected events, such as Brexit, the Covid19 pandemic and environmental disasters, that have highlighted the importance of managing crises and accounting for them. Effects of similar unexpected upheavals, as well as the effects of any other type of organisational crisis, interweave with the very fabric of society and organisational life, often
creating new states of the world and favouring the introduction of new and innovative practices (Liguori, 2012; Hyndman et al., 2019). In this context, the most recent research has investigated the role of accounting during organisational upheavals and change (Hyndman and Liguori 2019; Masquefa et al., 2017; Alsharari, 2020), during extreme events (Wilson et al., 2010; Lapsley, 2020; Ahrens and Ferry, 2021) and natural disasters (Lai et al., 2014; Matilal and Adhikari, 2019), as well as accounting as a tool for organisational resilience (Barbera et al., 2017). Accounting also has a long-term role in the way that societies cope with crisis: both in the  contemporary world (Tooze, 2018) and historically (Daunton, 2001), practises of accounting have been contested mechanisms for re-establishing power and legitimacy after crisis.

Transparency, accountability and control mechanisms assume particular nuances during periods of crisis and change, with the potential to lead into significant reforms and transformative behaviours (Lapsley and Miller, 2019; Leoni et al., 2021). It is acknowledged that, although change can be imposed by both internal and external factors, if it is not understood or seen as legitimate in the context in which it is applied, it is likely to be resisted. Despite the contribution of interdisciplinary and critical studies (Neu et al., 2001), a wide spectrum of society often sees accounting as a neutral technology that can be deployed to generate objective information and support resolute decisions. Nevertheless, the implementation of new accounting practices and tools can be transposed and transformed by those implementing them (Motion and Leitch, 2009). After any crisis, it is, therefore, not only important to make sense of what has happened, but also to learn how to deal and cope with the consequences of its aftermath. Is change a matter of cycles and unresolved oscillations or a continuous process that always moves forward? Does accounting embed the restoration of the previous status quo or does it undermine it through new techniques and knowledge? What is the relevance of accounting, not merely to the management of crisis, but to the management of the impacts of crisis and the cost of change? The workshop, and the related Special Issue, will focus on considering the relationship between accounting practices, in their broad sense, and the aftermath of crisis. 

The workshop welcomes contributions on all aspects of public-sector and public-service accounting, auditing, performance management and control, budgeting and accountability. Different and innovative methodological approaches are encouraged. Topics suitable for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Accounting and reactions to crisis and uncertainty in unstable environments;
  • How accounting, auditing, accountability and governance systems can be used to identify and
    manage change;
  • The use (and misuse) of accounting information and accountability systems by different actors
    and government levels;
  • The use and role of digital technologies and social media;
  • Citizens-state interactions and their effect on accounting and accountability systems;
  • How accounting, accountability and performance measurement systems can improve the
    delivery of public services;
  • Accounting for co-production and co-delivery of public services and the interaction among
    public, private and not-for-profit organizations;
  • Accounting, change and crises from a historical perspective.

The workshop will be organised as a live event (with possible hybrid solutions, if necessary, to comply with the Covid-19 regulations of the time). The papers submitted to the workshop will be included for consideration in a related Special Issue of Abacus. Submission to the workshop implies that authors wish to be considered for the Special Issue.

To indicate your interest in presenting at the workshop, abstracts (300 words max) should be kindly sent to Mariannunziata Liguori ( and Henry Midgley ( no later than the 30th September 2022. The submission deadline for receipt of completed papers for the workshop is 15th November 2022. Any email submission should
include the subject heading: ICOPA Workshop 2022 submission.

The Workshop Scientific Committee will review the papers to be accepted for the workshop. After the workshop, the Guest Editors will invite authors of a sub-set of the conference papers to submit their contributions for possible inclusion in the Special Issue of Abacus.

Register online:

Registration to the workshop will open on 1st September 2022 and close on 7th December 2022. Please, click here to register 

More information will be also available on the ICOPA’s website

Workshop Scientific Committee

Professor Laurence Ferry, Professor Mariannunziata Liguori, Dr. Henry Midgley

Workshop Organising Committee

Professor Laurence Ferry, Professor Mariannunziata Liguori, Dr. Henry Midgley, Dr. John Millar

Guest Editors of Abacus Special Issue

Professor Laurence Ferry, Professor Noel Hyndman, Professor Mariannunziata Liguori, Dr. Henry Midgley

Important dates

  • Submission deadline for abstracts: 30th September 2022
  • Decisions on papers for conference presentation: 15th October 2022
  • Submission of completed papers: 15th November 2022
  • Conference dates: 12th -13th December 2022