Showing posts with label 'McKinsey'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'McKinsey'. Show all posts

Friday, 5 April 2013

Abolish ACOBA

The Chair of the committee that advises on business appointments to departing senior civil servants is a director of a company that has won a contract related to the Health and Social Care Act in which he voted in favour.

Lord Lang of Monkton is the chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA). Set up in 1975, the remit of the committee is given by the Chairman Lord Lang on the website

‘It is long-standing government policy that it is in the public interest that those with experience in government should be able to move into business or other areas of public life and it is equally important that in the taking up of an appointment, there is no cause for suspicion of impropriety.’

Lord Lang of Monkton is also the director of Marsh & McLennan, a risk and strategy management company that amongst other services helps ‘hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and industry associations understand the implications of changing policy environments". 

Despite this interest, Lord Lang along with 142 other peers with recent or present financial links to companies involved in private healthcare, was able to vote on the Health and Social Care bill helping it become an Act. The Conservative peer did indeed vote in all key divisions loyal to his party.

In February 2011 Marsh was appointed by the Department of Health to conduct an ‘industry review’ of the NHS Litigation Authority. The objective of the review was to ‘identify opportunities to introduce greater commercial management and practice to services.

Early days
ACOBA was initially created to provide advice on applications from the most senior Crown servants who wish to take up outside appointments after they leave Crown service. The work of the committee then expanded from 1995 to provide advice to Ministers on their employment for two years after leaving office.

The organisation’s inability to prevent the conflicts of interests that riddle both parliamentary houses led the transparency campaigners Spinwatch to call for ACOBA’s abolition.

In written evidence submitted to the Public Administration Committee on a report on business appointment rules, they pointed out the danger private interests being in a position to gain ‘a competitive advantage by virtue of the inside knowledge, contacts and networks developed while in (temporary) public service.’

Further evidence focused on McKinsey, the management consultancy company that encouraged the £20 billion cuts the NHS is now forced to apply and who made several suggestions to end the free at the point of need in Northern Ireland.

Spinwatch pointed out how Tom Kibasi who ‘started at McKinsey in 2004, left two years later to become Senior Policy Advisor to chief executive of the NHS David Nicholson, and moved back to McKinsey in 2008, where he’s been busy helping the DH reform the system.’ Further revolving door behaviour came in the form of David Cox, who ‘worked in the NHS, jumped ship to McKinsey, then moved to the Conservative Party’s “Implementation team” for nine months, before settling at NHS London as “Strategy Manager” responsible for “cutting-edge system-wide design and planning of London’s healthcare system strategy.”’

Ex-NHS hospital head Mark Goldman is now an adviser for the ‘McKinsey Hospital Institute, (which contracts its services to NHS hospitals); ex-McKinsey consultant Nick Moberly who is now CEO of Royal Surrey County Hospital; Dr Doug Russell, ex-medical director of Tower Hamlets and now senior advisor to McKinsey.’

Such links are but the tip of the iceberg, which Spinwatch rightfully concluded continue despite the existence of ACOBA, which led them to conclude ‘We believe that ACOBA is an ineffective body that should be abolished and replaced with a statutory regulator.’

All civil servants who go through the site are told either it is okay to take up this job without conditions or if conditions apply then a standard reply is given such as - so long as it is on the understanding that the person ‘would not draw on any privileged information from his time in Government.’

When Jim Easton left his position as ‘Director of Improvement and Efficiency’, at the Department of Health to become Managing director of Care UK, ACOBA stated that there must be a waiting period of three months from his last day of service; that for 12 months, he should not become involved in advising on bids or contracts for Department of Health business; and that, for two years from the same date, he should not become personally involved in lobbying UK Government on behalf of his new employer.

Do you trust that this won’t happen in some form? Do we honestly believe that when a person moves to a corporation they do not pass on information to their corporate employer on government thinking!

The line between public servants and corporate employees is practically non-existent which Spinwatch suggests would be much better served with a statutory regulator because ACOBA lacks ‘teeth’. ACOBA has no enforcement powers, so even if a person was to step out of line, nothing would be done, which is why Paul Flynn, Labour’s tireless campaigner on lobbying described it as a ‘Committee of Futility.’

In the meantime, they can start improving things by removing a chairman who voted on a health bill despite a financial link to a company who earned a contract from the NHS on the changes before it became an Act. A Lord who offered his services to a fake lobbying company in a 2010 Channel 4 sting. 

The committee is utterly flawed, the work they do has made no difference to combat the problems of the revolving door of civil servants working in the private sector only to return on the corporations behalf.
I add my voice to those of Spinwatch and Paul Flynn calling for its abolition. Also the resignation of Lord Lang from both ACOBA and the Lords. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

National Clinical Commissioning Conference Links Multiple Private Health Companies to Lords and MPs

A national conference for CCG leaders to air their ‘concerns’ over the implementation of clinical commissioning, is littered with companies who have financial links to Lords and MPs. The event, which is titled ‘Defining Our Future’, is sponsored by Capita, a private company winning contracts for developing the CCGs.  

The Capita partnership includes amongst it clients: Beachcroft, PHAST, NHS Alliance (Who are hosting the event), Foresight partnership, Ville & Company, and Penna.

Capita partner Beachcroft, is one of the largest commercial law firms in the UK and is widely regarded as the leading legal adviser to the health and social care sector. To their advantage, they have Lord Hunt of Wirral as a partner. In October 2008 when speaking in a healthcare debate in the Lords, the Peer stated: “A Bill is due to be introduced later this year which will attract considerable attention not only from within the NHS but from firms in the private health sector and from professional advisers.”

Lord Hunt is not alone in being involved in a company that has moved into a position where it can make money from the reforms; in which he voted; which he did in all the key areas of the debate as it passed through the House. Baroness Cumberlege positioned her company Cumberlege Connections, into an alliance led by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as she debated the merits of the bill in the House. The story of her involvement is well covered here.

Included in Beachcroft’s connections to power, is former Labour MP for Norwich South Charles Clarke, who was listed in the 2008 register of interests as a consultant to commercial firm Beachcroft LLP. When Mr Clarke was a sitting MP, he promoted the idea that the NHS should charge for 'peripheral treatments'. In 2008, he was also registered as a consultant to KPMG LLP, on the 'future of public service reform.' KPMG are heavily involved in implementing changes in the NHS and its commissioning groups.

Companies in the KPMG partnership with links to parliamentarians are UK law firm Morgan Cole, who have Conservative MEP Ashley Fox as their connection, who was an Associate to the company until 2009 when he was elected to the European Parliament. In addition, I.T. company McKesson
Information Solutions Ltd, have Lord Carter as their chairman. The Labour Peer is also the chairman of the NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP), a conflict of interest, which in a statement made by McKesson to the Guardian is avoided because he: "steps down from any investigation where there is potential conflict of interest.” 

So that’s alright then.

The list of companies in partnerships winning contracts to develop CCGs and having connections to Lords and MPs doesn’t end there. In 2008, Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle Gregory Baker, had shares in Penna plc, who deliver HR services to the NHS and are in the Capita partnership. PricewaterhouseCoopers (Pwc) donated more than £100,000 worth of professional advice to some of the Conservative Party's most senior politicians in the first quarter of the year. A total of £102,950 was donated  in non-cash gifts, however it isn’t just the Conservatives. PwC have also donated in the form of research assistants to Ed Balls, John Denham, Caroline Flint, Chuka Umanna as part of their continual involvement in influencing government policy no matter who gets into power. 

Lord Darzi, a former surgeon drafted into government as a health minister by Gordon Brown when he was PM, is now an adviser to medical technology firm GE Healthcare, another ‘Approved Provider.' When speaking at a stage of the Health and Social Care bill when a proposal was put forward to prevent the reading of the bill going any further, he said: ‘he would find it 'difficult at this stage' to vote for blocking the Bill...'I am speaking as a surgeon, not a politician.'

McKinsey also involved in the CCG creations , and who have been accused of being a shadow government  in an article written by George Monbiot, gave £10,000 to David Milliband for a speech made at a Global Business Leaders Summit in February last year. The former foreign secretary also received a sum of £10,044 from the same company for travel expenses and accommodation for a meeting in Singapore in March 2011. In addition to this, Conservative Peer Lord Blackwell, was a partner with McKinsey and Company between 1978 and 1994.

The links to Lords and MPs in this conference, highlights once more the driving force of private companies in the changing state of the NHS.