Showing posts with label 'PwC Alliance'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'PwC Alliance'. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The case of Baroness Cumberlege: Why the Lords Rules Need Changing

Disappointingly since joining the alliance Cumberlege Connections has not earned any income through the alliance.’ Baroness Cumberlege  26th November 2012

Rules that fail to prevent our Peers from voting when they have a financial interest are not fit for purpose. There were many such culprits who helped pass the Health and Social bill into Act, however, there was one Baroness in particular, who exploited this deficiency in democracy more than most.

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.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Baroness who ran private business interests from Lord Office positions her company to gain from NHS reforms

Baroness Cumberlege, one of the 141 peers exposed as having financial links to companies involved in private healthcare put her company into a position whereby it could make money from the reforms as she debated them in the House of Lords.

The former health secretary-turned-peer set up an organisation called  Cumberlege Connections, which runs training programmes across the NHS spectrum for consultants, GPs, NHS managers, Directors and chief executives. In addition to this service, part of their training programme covers ‘Politics, Power and Persuasion, a tailored two-day programme which includes topics such as: ‘Managing the markets, the challenges of commissioning’, ‘who’s who’, and ‘brokering deals with other independent sector providers’. The last programme is delivered by the Baroness herself.

These are useful services, which enabled her company to become a partner in the PwC Alliance, set up to bid for contracts to develop the new Clinical Commissioning Groups.

One of elements of the bill is the transition of commissioning responsibilities from Primary Care Trusts to local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which could eventually lead to these groups being in charge of the £65 billion NHS funding.  

The transition process has already begun in earnest, with some CCGs already in existence. It is here where the private sector have already been making money out of changes, even before the bill became law, which was on the 27th of March 2012.

In order to get GP groups into a position whereby they can commission properly, a national framework needed to be followed.

The framework is split into 4 separate areas called Lots. Each Lot has a series of ‘approved providers’, and falls into these categories:

Lot 1 - Setting up and leading a high performing Clinical Commissioning Group,

Lot 2 - Working collaboratively and across boundaries – promoting partnership working

Lot 3 - Managing and influencing local and national politics

Lot 4 – Engaging and leading colleagues in primary care through distributed leadership - ensuring that the organisation is clinically led

When any CCG wants assistance in any of the above categories, they must invite all the companies listed under each ‘Lot’ category to make a bid. PwC Alliance, of which Baroness Cumberlege’s company is a part, is listed in all four groups. Some of the other companies involved include: McKinsey & Co, Deloitte and Capita, and KPMG partnership, all financially benefitting from the restructuring of the NHS.

In short, Baroness Cumberlege and her company are in a position to make money from a bill in which she has voted in favour. This she certainly did, voting loyally with the coalition on every division on the Health and Social Care bill.

So what sort of money is being made? Well, according to Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Clare Gerada, quite a lot. She told the leading General Practice magazine Pulse:
'Most of the resources for commissioning development went into the coffers of big private consultancies such as KPMG. In London alone £7 million of funding has gone into those companies.' The highest-earning firms were: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) (£1.61m), KPMG (£1.47m) and McKinsey & Co (£1.27m).

So is the Baroness making money out of the restructuring? It would appear so. In an updated report released in January this year, NHS Barnet announced that the NHS Harrow Clinical Commissioning board had chosen PWC Alliance for their organisational development. Minutes of a meeting held by the Lincolnshire GP commissioning Executive Committee confirms the Lincolnshire South-West Executive Team had met with PwC Alliance regarding the ‘future working and Governance’ arrangements for the CCG. A further contract for the PwC Alliance is revealed in the minutes of the Havering Clinical Commissioning Committee’s Chairman’s report, which involved the merger with the NHS outer North-East London cluster and states the PwC Alliance had been commissioned to undertake ‘their organisational baseline assessment,’ which was presented to the joint shadow CCG. All of these taking place before the bill had passed, and while Baroness Cumberlege was debating on the bill. 

Even if her company hasn't received money for this yet, she has put her organisation in a position to do so. 

The Baroness and Cumberlege Connections made the headlines only two years ago, when, in 2009, the peer was accused of misusing parliamentary facilities to promote her own business, admitting that she had failed to declare her interest properly during House of Lords’ debates. In addition, the Baroness faced other charges of using her Lords email address to recruit people to commercial courses her firm was organising. Cumberlege was forced to admit that the business was run from the House of Lords until "it took off". The complaint was made by lobbying transparency campaigners Spinwatch, who uncovered the case and made the complaint.

At the time, the Guardian reported Spinwatch's spokesman, David Miller, as saying: "No peer should be treating parliament as an office from which to do commercial business…" The Baroness however maintained that her company is not a lobbying company.

Despite being found guilty of breaking the rules with regard to declaring her outside interests, Cumberlege did not face any disciplinary action.

Her company is not only connected to parliament, but it utilises a plethora of other peers in its work. Aside from Baroness Cumberlege, there are five other peers who have offered their services to her company, either as a trainer or a consultant. Baroness Billingham, Lord Grocott, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Baroness Jay, and Lord Harris of Haringey. Indeed Lord Harris, who works as an occasional trainer, is also a senior advisor to KPMG, the lead body in one of the other partnerships vying for contracts to develop the new CCGs.

In addition to the Lords, Labour MP Rosie Cooper received payment of £300 for a focus group meeting with health professionals on ‘understanding MPs.’ David Lammy (also Labour) has received multiple payments throughout 2011 for participating in, amongst other programmes, the ‘Westminster experience’ conference. Stuart Gisela received two payments in 2011 for appearing in workshops, and Frank Dobson was paid £600 for a 4 hour presentation.

However, it was not just the Peer’s ability to vote when such conflict of interest is clear, but that she was able to influence the debate by speaking. No wonder then she should say: ‘I applaud the flexibility of the bill’, and it would appear the flexibility of the rules too. 


For more on her former employer and fellow peer Lord Chadlington’s PR and lobbying firm Huntsworth plc. For more on Lord Chadlington, Huntsworth plc and their power of influence see here.

Note: In addition, Cumberlege Connections was listed under another partnership led by KPMG, until October 2011, where it appears she switched to the PwC Alliance. On asking whether she was part of both alliances; John Lewin a project manager of the NHS Leadership Acadamy confirmed to me ‘Cumberlege Connections are part of the PwC Alliance.’