Meet the HFMA policy and technical team

An overview of what our policy and technical team does and how they shape the HFMA's technical outputs

What does the team do?

They are responsible for all of the HFMA's policy and technical outputs. This includes producing publications on key topics and overseeing projects to produce resources on significant issues such as health inequalities and digital technology. They also provide support to HFMA's various committees and special interest groups and advocate on behalf of HFMA members by responding to external consultations and engaging with key stakeholders on finance and governance matters.

Between them, the members of HFMA's policy and technical team have more than 158 years combined experience across different roles in healthcare and public sector finance. Their areas of expertise include financial reporting, governance, audit, costing, payment systems, tax, NHS charitable funds, health inequalities and many more.

For any general queries please contact us at [email protected].

Meet the team

Emma Knowles circle

Emma Knowles, director of policy and communications

I've worked for the HFMA since January 2013 and am a member of the senior management team. I'm responsible for the association's policy, technical, research, marketing and communication activities. This includes leading the policy and technical team to deliver outputs that meet the needs of HFMA members and the wider finance community. I am also the policy team representative for the Scotland and Eastern branches.

Prior to joining the HFMA I worked for the Audit Commission for 13 years in various roles, but never as an auditor! In my last role I was responsible for the Commission's national health studies and providing advice and guidance to auditors on financial management and governance issues. One of the highlights during this time was receiving an HFMA outstanding contribution award for supporting the association. Before joining the Commission, I worked for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). For part of that time CIPFA hosted the HFMA, so I've worked for the association before and have been a long-time supporter. I trained as an accountant while working in the NHS and although it was a very long time ago I have experience working for a commissioner and a provider. 

As well as being an HFMA member, I'm also a member of CIPFA and the Accountancy and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 

Do get in contact with me if you have any questions about the work of the team, any suggestions for guidance that you'd find helpful, or if you'd like to get involved in our work. I'd be very happy to hear from you.

Contact me: [email protected]

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Fiona Boyle, policy manager

 I am a CIMA qualified accountant and have spent most of my career in the NHS costing arena at several providers covering all secondary care sectors. I also spent several years working in the transformation team of a large acute trust improving and ensuring effective data flows for the electronic patient record, and most recently worked at NHS England leading development of the Approved costing guidance.

I joined the HFMA in 2023 as part of the policy and technical team, with a portfolio that includes costing, payment systems and delivering value with digital technologies. In my current role, I support the Payment Systems and Specialised Services Group, the Digital Council and the Costing Group as part of the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute. I am also the policy team representative for the South West and South Central branches.

Contact me: [email protected]

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Emily Hopkinson, policy and research manager

I am an ACA-qualified accountant with a background in public sector audit. I have a breadth of experience at a national, regional and local level. Before joining the HFMA, I worked in strategic finance at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I have also worked at the National Audit Office. 

I joined the HFMA in 2023 as a policy and research manager, where my key area of focus is in addressing health inequalities and prevention and research more generally. In addition, I am the policy team representative for the London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex branches and provide support to the HFMA healthcare inequalities finance fellows

Contact me: [email protected]

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Debbie Paterson, senior technical manager

I am a CIPFA qualified accountant and prior to joining the HFMA I worked for 22 years at PwC providing accounting and auditing advice to NHS auditors. 

I joined the HFMA in 2013 as part of the team writing online course material and supporting committees. In my current role I lead on the HFMA’s output relating to financial reporting, capital, VAT and tax as well as digital. I currently provide support to the Accounting and Standards Committee, Digital Council, Healthcare in the Community Special Interest Group,  NHS Charity Finance Group, NHS VAT sub-committee, Provider Technical Issues Group and am the policy team representative for the Northern and Yorkshire and Humber branches.

To do this, I drink far too much tea (which is always made in a pot). I also respond well to nagging so if you don't hear from me, please feel free to chase me.

Contact me: [email protected] 

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Lauren Payne, committees administrative assistant

Prior to joining the HFMA I worked for several years in the public sector in administrative roles.

In 2022 I joined the HFMA as a committees admin assistant within the policy and technical team. I provide administrative support to my team and a number of the HFMA committees through tasks such as organising meetings, creating agendas and writing minutes. 

Contact me: [email protected]

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Hayley Ringrose, senior policy manager

I am a qualified accountant and have worked in the NHS for over 25 years in various roles and organisations. I was the chief financial analyst leading the costing team at the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust for 11 years up until April 2020.

I joined the HFMA in May 2022 as a policy and research manager and was promoted to the role of senior policy manager in July 2023. In my current role I lead on the HFMA's outputs relating to value, efficiency and productivity including population health and am the policy lead for the Healthcare Costing for Value institute.  I also lead on outputs related to mental health, learning disabilities and autism. I currently provide support to the Mental Health and Learning Disability Steering Group, Institute CouncilInstitute Costing Group and the newly formed Financial Recovery Group. I am also the policy team representative for the East MidlandsNorth West and West Midlands branches.

In addition to my policy work, I also use my lived experience to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and to encourage all organisations to see each employee as an individual, bringing unique skills and experiences.

Contact me: [email protected]

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Lisa Robertson, senior policy manager

I am a qualified CIPFA accountant with over 20 years external audit experience in the public sector, having previously worked at the Audit Commission and Grant Thornton. 

I joined the HFMA in 2016. My current role is as a senior policy manager responsible for delivering a programme of guidance and research to support members and the wider NHS finance community. My key areas of focus include governance, audit, system working, devolved nations, leadership, workforce, students and diversity and inclusion. I provide policy support to the Environmental Sustainability Special Interest Group, Four Nations Group, Governance and Audit Committee, ICB Finance Group, Policy and Research Committee, and Student Committee. I am also the policy team representative for the Wales and Northern Ireland branches. 

Contact me: [email protected]

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Desiree Robitaille, researcher

I have several years of research experience in public settings, working both independently and as part of larger teams. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and in my previous roles at a mental health hospital and the police I contributed to academic journals and conference publications. 

I joined the HFMA in 2021 as a committees admin assistant providing administrative support to our committees. In my current role I support the policy and technical team with tasks such as data analysis, survey creation and literature reviews as well as administrative work. 

Contact me: [email protected]

Our work at a glance

Throughout January to March 2024, the policy and technical team:

Published eight brand new briefings

Produced five new case studies highlighting best practice

Responded to eight external consultation papers on behalf of our members

Updated two guidance maps and six briefings to reflect new and updated national guidance

Produced a suite of resources to support finance staff with the production of the annual report and accounts

Fully rewrote and published the HFMA audit committee handbook

Chaired 15 committee meetings to hear directly from members about what policy support they need