Back to blogs

HFMA, SDN & ONF Eastern Branch Annual Conference Review | James de Ste Croix

Posted on March 2024

male recruitment manager at conference with stand

​We were delighted to attend last week’s Healthcare Financial Management Association, Skills Development Network & One NHS Finance Annual Conference, reconnecting with our valued partners and making many first-time connections.

James de Ste Croix, Senior Manager across our Healthcare and Finance teams, reflects on the event and the latest developments within the sector.


It’s a little over a week since the 2024 HFMA, SDN & ONF Eastern Branch annual conference at Wyboston Lakes, and what a fantastic couple of days it was! This was our third year attending the event as a sponsor, and it’s safe to say it won’t be our last.

There was a real buzz to the two-day in-person part of the conference, with more than 150 NHS Finance professionals from across the East of England all gathered under one roof. We were inundated with visitors to our stand across the two days, discussing all sorts of perspectives on the challenges of the NHS Finance recruitment market in the last twelve months and the expectations for this coming year.

In the early stages of 2024, the conversations coming out of the conference suggest that there are a large number of empty vacancies within Finance, and the two biggest struggles clients are facing seem to be releasing budget, and getting the route through procurement approved. Venn Group have worked with clients to offer creative solutions to the procurement hurdle, including offering straight to bank fees and candidates being paid directly by the organisation, while we invoice our CCS margin.

The Eastern Branch awards were a fabulous celebration of high achievers across the region, with awards given out for Eastern Champion of Diversity, Eastern Unsung Hero, Team Player of the Year, the Innovation award, Student of the Year award and the Outstanding Contribution award which went to David Chittenden of North West Anglia NHS FT. We had the honour of sponsoring the pre-dinner drinks, and it was great to be able to spend more time getting to know our clients with a drink in their hand, without the time pressure of rushing off to the next talk. A big congratulations to all those shortlisted for an award, and of course to the winners.

After the drinks we moved through to the gala dinner. A particular mention needs to go to Darryl Cockman from ESNEFT for MCing the quiz (including the karaoke round) and the prize draw. It went down an absolute storm! Apologies to my table for my lack of Dingbats knowledge…

It is always a privilege to attend these events and see first-hand the commitment of finance professionals to progress best practice in their field. We greatly enjoy supporting this sector and are proud of our reputation as a trusted supplier.

Should you wish to discuss your recruitment requirements, please contact James de Ste Croix on 01908 295 000 or email