Saturday 24 November 2012

David Cameron is accused of a 'sham listening exercise' on NHS reform after links to lobbyist are revealed

This article appears in the Observer. See Archive in July and August for more details on this research.

The coalition has been accused of presiding over a sham "listening exercise" on NHS reform last year, as a leaked document reveals how the private health lobby worked with Downing Street behind the scenes to ensure that the new legislation went ahead.

David Worskett, the industry's chief lobbyist, cleared his group's public statements with officials and was personally thanked by No 10 for arranging the publication of a letter from clinicians in support of the reforms during the key "pause" period last year, called to reflect on the proposed reforms.

A series of phone calls between the lobbyist and Downing Street's health adviser was followed by a welcome "addition" to a major speech by the prime minister, according to a five-page document written for members of the private healthcare lobby group. The government claimed at the time that it would call a temporary halt to its efforts to introduce more competition within the NHS through its controversial health and social care bill. The prime minister told doctors and nurses: "We are taking this time to pause, to listen, to reflect and to improve our NHS modernisation plans. Let me be clear: this is a genuine chance to make a difference."

Friday 23 November 2012

Reform – a voice for corporations – Bupa

Reform are a free market think tank who promote privatisation of public services. They have charitable status despite being heavily linked to the Conservative party, which is denied by the Charity Commission who recently chose to refuse to investigate the connections and denied they existed.

Social Investigations is producing a series of articles which looks at the corporations who fund Reform through a corporate partnership that exists because according to Reform:

'We are keen to involve corporate organisations in our research because their expertise is often left out of the Whitehall policy discussion.’

Dictionary definition of a charity:An organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need’.

Friday 16 November 2012

Charity Commission Refuses to Investigate Complaint Regarding Charity's Links to the Conservative Party

The Charity Commission have refused to investigate further a complaint placed by Social Investigations into connections between the Charity Reform and the Conservative party, which brings into question their independence. 

The refusal stated that: 'In 2007, the Commission considered a complaint about the charity from a Member of Parliament that contained information which is very similar to the information provided in your email. 

We considered the evidence provided by the MP and undertook a thorough investigation. Our findings were that there is no evidence to support the allegations that the Reform Research Trust has links with or promotes the aims and objectives of any political party. We therefore decided not to take any action in regard to these matters.'

The idea that Reform does not have links with the Conservative party are absurd.

  • All of the co-founders have links to the Conservative party.
  • Reform is recognised as part of the Conservative party movement by multiple medium including the Conservativehome. 
  • Two MPs to emerge from Reform both belong to the Conservative party
  • Two of the trustees have provided money to individuals in the Conservative party
  • Two of the trustees and a director have advised two Conservative MPs
The full list of links to the Conservative party are here, and highlight clearly the entire powerbase as being linked to the Conservative party. The free market think tank, which promotes, privatisation and the outsourcing of public services to the private sector, are partners with many corporations who gain from the outsourcing and which are linked to many of our Lords and MPs. 

In fact, the only people who do not seem to recognise Reform as part of the Conservative party is the Charity Commission itself, whose reputation is damaged by allowing such organisations to remain as charities. 

A further complaint will be sent to the Charity Commission about their decision and how they can possibly come to the conclusion that they can find 'no evidence' of links to the Conservative party.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Article Roundup - Attacks on Society, Deceit and Dirty Business

Every now and again I do an article roundup to bring together key articles from a couple of months work.

The first roundup focused on the Lords research and the healthcare takeover of parliament

The second roundup was dedicated to  lobbying following the discovery of a document from a healthcare lobbying group that told the tale of how Sir Stephen Bubb played his part in changing the face of the NHS. In addition it looked at the daily Telegraph’s role in helping promote the message of ‘competition’. More...

This roundup looks at the political connections of two Think Tanks that silently go about producing policy that the government so readily take onboard to leverage public resources into the private companies that fund them. Reform, the BBC, Policy Exchange, Wonga are all in here, as is David Cameron and how the government accepted the recommendations of the ‘Choice and Competition’ working group of the NHS Future Forum before they received the final report. Democracy in this country is in a fragile state.

Please pass on this blog to anyone you know.

1. ‘Just as I was signing off our Panel's report on " Delivering real choice" I get sent a copy of the PM speech announcing he is accepting many of our key recommendations (although we haven't actually given him the report yet!) More

2. Sir Stephen Bubb was a key figure in ensuring private healthcare remained in the Health and Social Care Act following the so-called ‘listening period.’ Read about how he bumped in Lansley and got briefed before appearing on the Health and Social Care bill Committee. More

3. Policy Exchange Links to the Conservative Party. They are a think tank with charity status, but predominantly dream up ideas for privatising. They are meant to be politically ‘independent’, but are linked solely to the Conservative party. More here

4. Reform are according to their website 'keen to involve corporate organisations in our research because their expertise is often left out of the Whitehall policy discussion.’ – See why this is a lie with reports on Aviva, BMI Healthcare, G4S and see why this makes them a conduit to privatisation. You can also see which of their corporate partners are linked to Lords and MPs. More

5. The BBC failed the people of the UK for whom they are meant to inform. A new report analyses the key stories they missed including the Lords and MPs research. How the BBC betrayed the NHS. More

6. A Complaint was sent to the Charity Commission over the free market think tank Reform. The complaint focused on their political independence and their links to the Conservative party. The second part of the complaint looked at misleading statements made on their website. We await their response. More...

7. The government want to privatise probations, and it is all linked into the Police Commissioner elections, which will act as an opportunity to pressurise local leaders to outsource other areas such as the fire brigade, the police, ambulance services, of which Reform suggest Police Commissioners should be in charge. More

8. It takes a certain kind of person to run a company that takes advantage of people in desperate times, to squeeze money out of them when they have nowhere else to go. The kind of person who would do such a thing, should be admonished by society for preying on the needy however, this government, who receives money from one of their main funders, sees him as a person to go to for advice and to send senior advisers to lobby on the company's behalf. More

Thursday 1 November 2012

Policy Exchange links to the Conservative party

Policy Exchange is a right wing free market think tank who provide policy ideas for the Conservative party. They promote privatisation and are funded in part by corporations, although which ones and how much are largely unknown.

They are a charity, and claim political independence, which is absurd. The charity status they have makes a mockery out of both the meaning of the word and the rules of the Charity Commission, which allows such organisations to become a charity in the first place.

The list below is of the think tank trustees with some collected from other sources and some new up to date research. The donations the trustees have given have only gone to the Conservative party.

The current trustees of Policy Exchange are: