Friday, April 16, 2021

Government, Industry, lobbying and transparency

This week the revelations about Greensill have given rise to much discussion about lobbying and the relations between present and former ministers and civil servants and industry.

The public needs to know both that no rules were broken and that the rules themselves are fit for purpose.

That is why, earlier this week, the government announced an independent review into supply chain finance to better understand how businesses engage with Government and ensure best practice is being followed. 

  • Since 2010, the government has taken a number of actions to improve  transparency and openness in how it works. These have included extensive transparency publications on contracts, spending and meetings, and a statutory register of consultant lobbyists.            
     
  • To ensure the highest standards in public life, the government will go even further by reviewing and improving business appointment rules, enhancing transparency and improving the procurement process.
     
  • An independent review will examine the development of supply chain finance, including the role of Greensill, and how business representatives engaged with government.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Lobbying is how things get done, its clear what is going on. The differnece is the Tories do it with more transparency. Its pretty obvious there is a huge discrapency in where the all the covid money is going, and there are so many people that keep on "failing up", Boris has done this for his entire careeer and the most obvious other example is Dido Harding.

Labour tend to do it by building a web of aid and development NGOs and quangos lead by former labour mps and meps and supporters.

Pretending things are any differnet is not assuring anyone im afraid.

Gary Bullivant said...

Supply chain finance abuse is only one symptom of a multi symptom malaise that continues to afflict our executive class. Lord Nolan provided us with seven principles for behaviour in public life and those of us in public service should expect to be held to account by the public for our behaviour. That applies to Australians who choose to work in the public sector and those Brits and others already in there who appoint them too.

Problem is that the public have seen enough of Greensill and PPE procurement to know it for what it is, although I do have some sympathy for the Health Secretary in the minor case of his family firm. The executive class immediate response is to set up an insider to carry out a review that may produce a result but will certainly allow time for the heat to go out of the issue. The other ploy is to set up a regulator or advisory body and fill it with insiders. Lord Pickles is a classic in this regard, as anyone who read his speculative and unlawful Parliamentary Review letter will know. John Penrose MP is another. It's not the sin that surprises but the sheer excess.

As for the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 rules and regulations, you only have to look up New Century Media and Tony Lodge on the Regulator's database to see how effective that has been.

Chris Whiteside said...

You are never going to get to a situation where there are no concerns, because if we ever got to the position of fixing all the real issues some people would still manufacture bogus ones.

I am glad you have some sympathy for the Health secretary, Gary, because this week's non-story about a company he has shares in getting contracts from NHS Wales is a classic example of a bogus issue as he has no responsibility for the NHS in Wales which is run by the devolved government of Wales.

Unfortunately the fact that the Hancock non-story is utter tripe does not mean there are no real issues. Some of the things that have come out in the last week do appear to suggest to me that although the rules may not have been broken, it is possible to make a credible case that those rules themselves need further reform and more effective enforcement.

I think it makes sense to see what Nigel Boardman's review comes up with rather than dismiss it before it has even had a chance to properly start work.