Posts Tagged ‘PwC’

Get the Big Accountancy Firms Out of My Government

September 2, 2020

Mike yesterday put up a piece reporting and commenting on the news that the Tories have squandered £100 million on the usual ratbag assortment of management consultants and big accountancy firms. You know – the usual offenders – PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey since March. This is work that should properly be done by the civil service. They were trained and required to adhere to high standards of impartiality. Unfortunately, too many of them didn’t. I heard much of Thatcher’s and Major’s privatisations, especially of British rail, was strongly supported by one particular senior servants. But the ideal of genuine public service was there. It was why the Sidney and Beatrice Webb, civil servants themselves, had such respect for their profession that their socialist views were strongly bureaucratic. They honestly believed that enlightened servants, guided by an involved public kept informed by honest reporting and the public of official statistics, would make a better job of running the country than the current political class.

The management consultants don’t. They’re in there for their own private profit, and they’ve made one stupid, incompetent decision after another. Mike’s article mentions several which were so bad they had to be reversed almost immediately. But they still keep getting contracts.

This is another piece of corporatist corruption that began with Thatcher and Major. I remember how they’ve royally screwed up the civil service. This started with the former Anderson Consulting, who were called in to reform the Department for Health and Social Security, turning it into the Benefits Agency as a form of half-way house to privatisation. They then went on to do something similar to the Inland Revenue. All this could have changed with the election of Blair. He had the popular mandate. But after the Tories rejected one of Anderson Consulting’s little schemes, Blair fished it out of the dustbin and made it his official policy.

Mike argues that Johnson has called them in because he can’t think for himself. That’s part of it, but not all of it. There’s a piece by Tony Benn in the book ‘The Best of Benn’ where the great socialist criticises the way industry uses management consultants to make conditions in firms worse and start laying off their workers. He states that, in practice, the firms have already decided on this course of action. They’ve called in the management consultants to present their decision as the result of object research into present working conditions. I think much the same is going on here. The Tories and New Labour stand for privatisation. And this is what they’re given by the management consultants and accountancy firms. Plus, I think some of the politicians may well have staff recruited from them and in return are expecting positions on their boards after their political career ends. It’s the constantly swinging open door between politicians, senior civil servants and industry. And its corrupt.

I’ve come to despise the big accountancy firms and look on them the same way the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation are described in Douglas Adams’ The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is a fictional robotics company that is so incompetent, its complaints division now covers the major landmasses of three planets in its home system. They are so bad that the Guide itself describes them as ‘A bunch of mindless jerks who will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes’.

Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But I do want them out of politics and out of government. I’ve started to wish there were demonstrations against them, and the other big businesses that have wormed their way into politics through the sponsorship of the political parties, in return for which they’ve been given positions in government. I wish people were marching against PwC, Deloitte, McKinsey and the rest, parading caricatures of their chief executives and burning them in effigy. Because I think this corporatist corruption will only stop if we show that we aren’t tolerating their interference, for their own profit, in our public affairs.

Johnson’s government has spent £100 million on consultants because he can’t think for himself

Health Regulator Schmoozed by Lobbying Companies

March 22, 2014

David Bennett monitor pic

David Bennett of the Government Healthcare Regulator Monitor – now enjoying company largesse with private healthcare firms.

This fortnight’s issue of Private Eye for the 21 March – 3rd April also contains a story about the way the health regulator, Monitor, is being approached and its chief executive, David Bennett, taken out to a variety of cultural events, by a series of lobbying companies.

Monitor is the government body in charge of supervising the closures, mergers and take-overs that will now occur after the passage of Clause 119. The Eye states that these will become more common as health budgets are further cut and more NHS Trusts are forced into deficit. The health regulator has the duty of ‘promoting provision of healthcare services which is economic, efficient and effective, and maintains or improves the quality of services’. It is therefore required to consider improving competition and the integration of services. The Eye states that judging ‘by the pro-marketization companies schmoozing its senior officials (most of whom are themselves former management consultants), however, competition is likely to win over cooperation every time’.

Monitors chief executive, David Bennett, who was formerly a partner in McKinsey Ross, has been treated to a variety of artistic and cultural events.

Boston Consulting, a US consultancy with a large and expanding health care business over here, took him to the Royal Academy, as did BUPA and FTI Economics. KPMG, who now employ Mark Britnell, who was previously the NHS’ commercial director, took him to a Radiohead concert at the O2 arena. They also took him to a number of receptions and dinners. One of these was for the chief medical officer of the US hospital group, Virginia Mason. BUPA took him to their ‘stakeholder dinner’, as well as a series of receptions for former employees of McKinsey.

Adrian Masters, Monitor’s Strategy Director, was also taken to lunch by Public Projects policy. This organisation describes their ‘central theme’ as “shifting responsibility for the provision of services and systems to independent sector partners’ – in other words, privatisation. Masters is also a former consultant with McKinsey.

Lastly, the Eye mentions that staff from PwC, who advise struggling NHS trusts, also took Monitor’s ‘managing director, provider regulation’ to Lords for the cricket match between England and New Zealand.

The report can be read on page. 20.

In other words, it’s an example of the soft corruption all too common in British politics, in which the heads of government bodies are taken to agreeable lunches and other events by the very people they are supposed to regulate. This case is especially offensive given the fact that all the companies involved are hoping for a piece of the rapidly privatised NHS. As was revealed this week, even the Tories recognise that the public do not want the NHS to be privatised. But nevertheless, as it looks like it’s going to be immensely profitable, they’re pushing ahead for it anyway.