Socialist Worker

Lucrative links between civil servants and business

Issue No. 2154

It’s not just MPs who are raking in the perks, civil service mandarins are doing well out of lobbyists.

Senior civil servants responsible for public sector contracts worth billions of pounds accepted tickets to sporting events and the opera from firms carrying out the privatised work.

Almost 200 senior civil servants registered 1,739 instances of “hospitality” in 2007 alone.

Fujitsu, KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers – IT, consulting and auditing firms with outsourcing and PFI contracts across Whitehall – top the hospitality league.

Defence officials accepted 221 dinners and invitations in 2007, many from arms companies and subcontractors.

The Revenue & Customs department received particular attention from the computer industry.

Steve Lamey, its chief operating officer, accepted 25 meals and a theatre ticket from IT companies during 2007.

Two of the nine invitations accepted by Sir Gus O’Donnell, the head of the civil service, were from KPMG and Ernst & Young.

Fujitsu appears in the 2007 register 37 times. It entertained Revenue & Customs officials nine times during the year.

Fujitsu helps to run a key tax-collecting database.

Fujitsu also twice entertained senior Ministry of Defence

officials two years after it signed a ten year £2.3 billion IT project with the department.

KPMG took Sir Brian Bender, permanent secretary of the business department, to breakfast twice and treated him to a day out at the Chelsea Flower Show. The firm entertained officials 35 times in 12 months.

The business department paid KPMG more than £1 million in the two years from April 2006 for contracts.

A list obtained by Socialist Worker under the Freedom of Information Act shows the Home Office’s senior civil servants’ hospitality up to March 2009. It includes numerous dinners with KPMG, Ernst and Young, Fujitsu and Raytheon.

For a full list of home office hospitality download » List of hospitality received by home office senior civil servants [184kb PDF] and » List of hospitality received by board members of government departments [916kb PDF]


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