Remember a few weeks ago I said this photo summarised my opinion on most (not all) “consultants” who are used way too often by both Central and Local government.
There have been some interesting articles this week on consultants. One in the Listener with a front cover lead in on Are corporate consultants worth it?
The second was in the Guardian. PWC are the ones caught this time. Here’s the link to the article:
The scandal this time erupted when it was revealed that a “consultant” who was advising the Australian government on changes to international tax laws leaked his knowledge to PWC partners who made millions of dollars in fees advising international companies to avoid tax.
When the scam became public the Guardian reported:
On Tuesday the chief executive, Tom Seymour, resigned from his position after acknowledging he received emails from Collins. Days later, two other Australian executives resigned. All remain partners.
The company has apologised to parliament and the new acting chief executive, Kristin Stubbins, said PwC was committed to learning from its mistakes and building “stronger trust and transparency”.
Isn’t it interesting that those who demonstrated an absence of ethics remain as partners of PWC. And that the men have placed a woman into the key position……
In addition to the comments above in another article on “consultants” the following comments were made about consultants from Australia in this article https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/may/09/consultancy-firms-becoming-shadow-public-service-expert-warns-as-pwc-crisis-deepens. The same could be said here:
Andrew Podger, a former Australian public service commissioner and former health department secretary, said consultants may be influenced by commercial motives when giving government advice.
“There is a [risk], when you become reliant on consultants and the consultants also want to continue to get business, that they may tailor their work in order to ensure that they get future business and they won’t necessarily be as independent as you would desirably want,”
The one word which doesn’t seem to feature in the article was “ethics”. The Institute of Chartered Accountants has a “Code of Ethics”. These firms belong to the Institute here, as they do in other countries. Do commercial drivers within these firms ride rough shod over the commitment to ethics and high standards?
In the first accounting firm I worked for in Palmerston North the senior partner called me into his office and said:
“I’m going to give you one lecture while you work for me, laddie. It is we rise, and we fall on our ethics”.
To the sentiments of my old, long dead, boss I say “amen”