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Old 19th January 2018, 04:59 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Again you seem to be willing to overlook all the flaws of the private sector while castigating those of the public sector. You also seem to be highlighting public sector problems that are in the past, the 'job for life' vanished long a go. Sure the public sector may well have it's bureaucratic mentality but you can match that off against 'its not in the contract'. There is not a shred of evidence to support the idea that the private sector can deliver public services more efficiently than the public sector did. Indeed I can point to Carillion, the UK railway system, Group 4 Security's seemingly endless failures(prison's, the 2012 Olympics, etc,) as evidence for the opposite what have you got besides an article of faith that the private sector is better?
All this demonstrates is that the UK can't get privatised systems to work (and I think the bureaucratic mentality is an overwhelming problem). In Australia we have privatised many transport systems, prisons, airports, major road building, ports, employment services, power and water utilities. Neither Labor nor Liberal parties plan to wind this back, in fact the contrary is true, with Labor in Victoria recently selling the Port of Melbourne. Only the unelectable Greens have nebulous policies to change this direction.
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Old 19th January 2018, 05:59 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Neither Labor nor Liberal parties
This is, of course, because neither are "left wing".
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Old 19th January 2018, 07:30 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
This is, of course, because neither are "left wing".
That is, of course, nonsense. To the extent that this label has any real meaning, the Libs are left of either US party and Labor is positively Stalinist. In the Australian context Labor is left. Which doesn't mean they can't make rational economic decisions. Keating was left by any definition yet he made more economic reforms which revitalised Australia than any other PM.

So what you mean is that "neither are left wing enough for me".
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Old 20th January 2018, 06:04 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
All this demonstrates is that the UK can't get privatised systems to work (and I think the bureaucratic mentality is an overwhelming problem). In Australia we have privatised many transport systems, prisons, airports, major road building, ports, employment services, power and water utilities. Neither Labor nor Liberal parties plan to wind this back, in fact the contrary is true, with Labor in Victoria recently selling the Port of Melbourne. Only the unelectable Greens have nebulous policies to change this direction.
And what does that prove? The UK government was happy to give contracts to Carillion after it received profit warnings. Nothing in the above is evidence the private sector is providing a more efficient service, it sounds in fact exactly like what the UK has been doing for the last 20 years.
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Old 20th January 2018, 06:08 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
All this demonstrates is that the UK can't get privatised systems to work (and I think the bureaucratic mentality is an overwhelming problem). ...snip...
It is the private companies that can't get their businesses to work - not the state.
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Old 20th January 2018, 06:29 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
All this demonstrates is that the UK can't get privatised systems to work (and I think the bureaucratic mentality is an overwhelming problem). In Australia we have privatised many transport systems, prisons, airports, major road building, ports, employment services, power and water utilities. Neither Labor nor Liberal parties plan to wind this back, in fact the contrary is true, with Labor in Victoria recently selling the Port of Melbourne. Only the unelectable Greens have nebulous policies to change this direction.
Was interested in this because I have family in the UK prison system (not inmates as far as I know!) and I know a lot of what goes on "behind these walls" in regards to private contractors and private prisons. I was wondering how Australia had managed to deal with these issues.

Sadly it appears we simply don't know or rather can't know:

Quote:
...snip....The overwhelming conclusion of this study is that there is insufficient publicly available information to determine whether or not private prisons provide a better approach to the delivery of prison services as compared to the public system. The purported benefits of introducing private prisons along the lines
of accountability, costs, efficiency and performance still remain to be proven. In order to establish the impact of privatisation on the custodial system, a range of cost and performance data must be made available by those states with private prisons.

A genuine comparison in terms of performance, cost and efficiency will only be possible once all private prisons are subject to similar levels of public accountability, and this will require a genuine commitment to evidence-based prison policy reform. ...snip...
Note: I'm not saying that it doesn't work well in Australia, I was genuinely looking to see how they have dealt with some of the issues private prisons and outsourced services have in the UK. Sadly Australian examples can't help since it doesn't make the information available.
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Old 20th January 2018, 09:07 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
The public sector in Australia has bureaucratic constraints galore. I assumed you have the same in the U.K. because we inherited the same structures. Restrictive job descriptions - how many times have you been told by a bureaucrat "I can't do that, you will have to.....".
Employees can't do stuff that it is not their responsibility - personal or organisational - to do. Why is that so shocking? The part of the government Department I work in is completely separate from many other parts of it. Even within the same organisation, I literally have no clue what many people working in the same open plan office do, and certainly couldn't do their work for them.

Quote:
The same happens in the private sector, but not to the same extent; fixed hierarchies, whereas the private sector is usually more flexible;
The private sector is made up of clearly separate organisations, not something larger than the general public might not understand is not the same thing, like many bits of the public sector. Most people wouldn't expect their local library to seal with a problem with parking, any more than someone wouldn't complain about private sector provision of one service with a separate organisation.

Quote:
cumbersome and time consuming disciplinary procedures;
Which are generally there to prevent the sort of expensive legal troubles the private sector get into when they flout employment law. It seems no surprise that most cases that end up in front of employment tribunals in the UK are to do with the private, rather than the public sector.

Quote:
"job for life" mentality; limited reward structures - high achievers in the private sector are rewarded accordingly, people in the public sector are paid the same as sluggish colleagues.
No, in the public sector high achievers move upwards, rather than get paid more than colleagues doing the same job, notwithstanding the fact that performance-related pay and/or regular appraisals are very much a "thing" now.

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Old 25th January 2018, 02:23 AM   #88
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There were doctors in Bristol UK who advised that the refurbishment of Southmead hospital in Bristol UK should have been done by a Swedish company instead of Carillion because they knew of the problems with Carillion at the hospital in Swindon. Their advice was rejected and ignored because Carillion immediately dropped their price, and the decision had already been taken behind closed doors.

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Old 25th January 2018, 02:40 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There were doctors in Bristol UK who advised that the refurbishment of Southmead hospital in Bristol UK should have been done by a Swedish company instead of Carillion because they knew of the problems with Carillion at the hospital in Swindon. Their advice was rejected and ignored because Carillion immediately dropped their price, and the decision had already been taken behind closed doors.
That sounds as if the deal wasn't done behind closed doors. That sounds like as you say Carillion dropped their price and public bodies have to take the lowest possible price irrelevant of anything else as long as the company agrees to provide the services/products/project as specified.

But it does sound slightly dodgy because as far as I know there is no obligation on public bodies to allow companies to bid against each other's bids. In fact I did think they weren't allowed to do that - but I don't know for certain and couldn't find anything conclusive with a quick google search.
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Old 25th January 2018, 03:44 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There were doctors in Bristol UK who advised that the refurbishment of Southmead hospital in Bristol UK should have been done by a Swedish company instead of Carillion because they knew of the problems with Carillion at the hospital in Swindon. Their advice was rejected and ignored because Carillion immediately dropped their price, and the decision had already been taken behind closed doors.
Any actual evidence of any of this, even a link to a blog or something ?

I wouldn't necessarily trust doctors to recommend a building company.
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Old 25th January 2018, 09:48 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Any actual evidence of any of this, even a link to a blog or something ?

I wouldn't necessarily trust doctors to recommend a building company.
There are doctors and medical specialists who are clinical directors, and are involved in decisions to recommend a building company. When the Carillion Southmead hospital in Bristol opened there were teething troubles, or construction blunders, like sewage coming from the ceiling of an operating theatre, and parts of that operating theatre not constructed properly, and fire alarms going off for no reason. I agree it may have been rectified by now, but it makes you think eh?
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Old 26th January 2018, 07:05 AM   #92
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Sounds par for the course in all major building projects. I worked for a company that had a new multi million property built, designed by Foster, state of the art everything..... Including the hi tech buckets had to have on the top floor for when the wind blew in a particular direction and it rained.
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Old 26th January 2018, 08:46 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
There are doctors and medical specialists who are clinical directors, and are involved in decisions to recommend a building company.
Were the clinical directors the ones who recommended the Swedish company ?

Do you have any evidence of any of this at all ?

So far all we have is your assurance that what you allege took place. You'll forgive me if I'm sceptical unless you provide some kind of evidence.

Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
When the Carillion Southmead hospital in Bristol opened there were teething troubles, or construction blunders, like sewage coming from the ceiling of an operating theatre, and parts of that operating theatre not constructed properly, and fire alarms going off for no reason. I agree it may have been rectified by now, but it makes you think eh?
As Darat said, that's not unusual on projects of that scale.

I was tangentially involved with both the Heathrow Terminal 5 project and the Jubilee Line Extension - if that's the limit of the problems at Southmead, that wasn't bad at all

edited to add....

Also, any evidence of the highlighted ? A quick Google search brought up nothing.

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Old 26th January 2018, 09:18 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Were the clinical directors the ones who recommended the Swedish company ?

Do you have any evidence of any of this at all ?

So far all we have is your assurance that what you allege took place. You'll forgive me if I'm sceptical unless you provide some kind of evidence.
It's gossip and I don't like to reveal my sources in case it causes embarrassment. The clinical directors involved may no longer be in the National Health Service, and working abroad. It was not reported in the media.

By the way the Home Office is now denying visas to foreign doctors which can't be good for the doctor shortage in the future, if not the nurse shortage now. My mother's life was saved by the decision of an Indian doctor way back in time when all she needed was penicillin. The original British decision to have an operation would have been fatal.
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Old 26th January 2018, 09:53 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
It's gossip and I don't like to reveal my sources in case it causes embarrassment. The clinical directors involved may no longer be in the National Health Service, and working abroad. It was not reported in the media.
How convenient

Sources that only you have report major issues with the building such as sewage pouring into an operating theatre and yet none of this made into the Evening Post, the Western Daily Press or even a blog somewhere. That kind of scuttlebut is exactly the sort of thing that the local press lives for.

You'll forgive me if I'm sceptical especially if my sources (mostly surgical and midwifery based in Southmead) reported nothing out of the ordinary in terms of teething problems (but did mention the fire alarm issues).

Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
By the way the Home Office is now denying visas to foreign doctors which can't be good for the doctor shortage in the future, if not the nurse shortage now. My mother's life was saved by the decision of an Indian doctor way back in time when all she needed was penicillin. The original British decision to have an operation would have been fatal.
Any evidence that the Home Office is denying visas to foreign doctors as a general rule (as opposed to denying visas for one or more specific doctors due to issues with their qualifications and/or language skills.

How does any of this relate to Carillion ?
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Old 26th January 2018, 10:17 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Any evidence of the Home Office is denying visas to foreign doctors as a general rule (as opposed to denying visas for one or more specific doctors due to issues with their qualifications and/or language skills.

How does any of this relate to Carillion ?
Henri may not be the most reliable correspondent, but that was reported in the Guardian, because the NHS doesn't pay enough.
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Old 26th January 2018, 10:22 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Henri may not be the most reliable correspondent, but that was reported in the Guardian, because the NHS doesn't pay enough.

From that article:

“It is simply lunatic,” said one consultant involved. “It is important to note that salaries haven’t changed and they are competitive. What’s changed is the Home Office’s threshold for granting visas.”

It's almost as if the people running the country don't have a *********** clue what they're doing.

(Given the total incompetence of those currently residing at No. 10 and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the imminence of Supreb Owls Unday, is WWIII coming?)
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Old 26th January 2018, 10:30 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
By the way the Home Office is now denying visas to foreign doctors which can't be good for the doctor shortage in the future, if not the nurse shortage now. My mother's life was saved by the decision of an Indian doctor way back in time when all she needed was penicillin. The original British decision to have an operation would have been fatal.
That's because doctors in general are not on the Tier 2 visa shortage occupation list, although the following specific specialties are:

Consultants in the following specialities:

clinical radiology
emergency medicine
old age psychiatry
CT3 trainee and ST4 to ST7 trainee in emergency medicine
Core trainee in psychiatry

Non-consultant, non-training, medical staff posts in the following specialities:
emergency medicine (including specialist doctors working in accident and emergency)
old age psychiatry
paediatrics

All nurses, though, are on the list.
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Old 29th January 2018, 01:57 AM   #99
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This was covered in the latest edition of Private Eye and has now been reported by the BBC:

Quote:
Carillion "wriggled out" of payments into its company pension schemes as its troubles grew, while it carried on paying shareholder dividends and bosses' bonuses, say MPs.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42853895

This would be annoying if it wasn't so blinking predictable
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Old 29th January 2018, 02:03 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
This was covered in the latest edition of Private Eye and has now been reported by the BBC:



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42853895

This would be annoying if it wasn't so blinking predictable
If we want successful companies we have to attract the well paid executives to run them so we have to pay these kinds of salary and bonus deals else we'd have companies run by second raters that wouldn't be able to compete in today's commercial world.....
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Old 29th January 2018, 02:09 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
This was covered in the latest edition of Private Eye and has now been reported by the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42853895

This would be annoying if it wasn't so blinking predictable
I was going to say that the auditors appear to have been asleep at the wheel, though "colluded" then sprang to mind. I wonder if anyone other than employees and sub-contractors will end up carrying the can?
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Old 29th January 2018, 03:01 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
I was going to say that the auditors appear to have been asleep at the wheel, though "colluded" then sprang to mind. I wonder if anyone other than employees and sub-contractors will end up carrying the can?
Yes, taxpayers

But I'm afraid that you're right that the employees and subcontractors will feel the pain the worst.
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Old 29th January 2018, 03:09 AM   #103
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Sky News has just reported that the pension deficit at Carillion is about a billion pounds, which is higher than first reported. I don't know who the chief accountant is there, of if he is still receiving Christmas bonuses.
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Old 29th January 2018, 04:55 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
Sky News has just reported that the pension deficit at Carillion is about a billion pounds, which is higher than first reported.
Yes, the size of the pension deficit will tend to be something of a movable feast because it depends on the calculation of future pension obligations and future returns on the value of the fund. Both of these are somewhat variable and can be "tweaked" to portray as good, or as bad, a picture as required.

Given the current mood I suspect that the £1bn is a higher estimate based on conservative estimates of investment return and optimistic life expectancy. Earlier figures may have made different assumptions.

Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I don't know who the chief accountant is there, of if he is still receiving Christmas bonuses.
I'm not sure how much influence the chief accountant would have over matters of this kind and in particular the extent to which Carillion has been allowed to under-contribute for years. It's more likely that the board in general, and the Financial Director in particular would be the ones to make the decisions.

There are also questions that need to be asked to the pension fund trustees. Their job is supposed to be to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Were they complicit in all of this ? Were they aware of Carillion's issues and just trying to make the best of a bad job ?

Regarding bonuses, I'd be surprised if those who are entitled to business performance bonuses will receive them but I wouldn't be shocked to find that project based bonuses may be paid - especially if those bonuses are priced into the contracts. AFAIK last year's executive bonuses were paid, hence the furore.
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Old 30th January 2018, 08:54 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Yes, the size of the pension deficit will tend to be something of a movable feast because it depends on the calculation of future pension obligations and future returns on the value of the fund. Both of these are somewhat variable and can be "tweaked" to portray as good, or as bad, a picture as required.

Given the current mood I suspect that the £1bn is a higher estimate based on conservative estimates of investment return and optimistic life expectancy. Earlier figures may have made different assumptions.



I'm not sure how much influence the chief accountant would have over matters of this kind and in particular the extent to which Carillion has been allowed to under-contribute for years. It's more likely that the board in general, and the Financial Director in particular would be the ones to make the decisions.

There are also questions that need to be asked to the pension fund trustees. Their job is supposed to be to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Were they complicit in all of this ? Were they aware of Carillion's issues and just trying to make the best of a bad job ?

Regarding bonuses, I'd be surprised if those who are entitled to business performance bonuses will receive them but I wouldn't be shocked to find that project based bonuses may be paid - especially if those bonuses are priced into the contracts. AFAIK last year's executive bonuses were paid, hence the furore.


I get the feeling that the people whose decisions caused the cock up will get their bonuses.

Those further down the line, who had no influence on the godawful decisions made by these leaders of industry will lose any bonuses they may have been entitled to.

I am, I hasten to add, speculating - I don't know how one would prove it.
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Old 31st January 2018, 04:58 AM   #106
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And now Crapita might be heading a similar way.

"In the latest blow to the outsourcing sector, Capita’s new boss unveiled a radical overhaul of the group’s finances, giving a damning assessment of a company he said had become “too complex” and lacking in discipline.

Jonathan Lewis, who took over as chief executive in December, said the company needed to raise up to £700m through a cash call on shareholders, scrap dividend payouts, and sell non-core parts of the business."

The Guardian
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Old 31st January 2018, 05:01 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
And now Crapita might be heading a similar way.

"In the latest blow to the outsourcing sector, Capita’s new boss unveiled a radical overhaul of the group’s finances, giving a damning assessment of a company he said had become “too complex” and lacking in discipline.

Jonathan Lewis, who took over as chief executive in December, said the company needed to raise up to £700m through a cash call on shareholders, scrap dividend payouts, and sell non-core parts of the business."

The Guardian

Somebody tell me again about the wonders of the private sector and the magnificence of the men in charge of it who earn more in a quarter than I will in my entire life.

If they did what it said on the tin, I wouldn't mind. Massive reward for massive failure seems the norm. Best shift any risk to the workers.

They paid a dividend in May, apparently...
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Old 31st January 2018, 05:41 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Somebody tell me again about the wonders of the private sector and the magnificence of the men in charge of it who earn more in a quarter than I will in my entire life.

If they did what it said on the tin, I wouldn't mind. Massive reward for massive failure seems the norm. Best shift any risk to the workers.
Amen to that. And Crapita's shyster shennanigans have also been relentlessly documented by Private Eye for bloody years. I think that organ should be
compulsory reading for everybody in Whitehall.
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Old 31st January 2018, 05:51 AM   #109
Dave Rogers
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
And now Crapita might be heading a similar way.
Not so sure about that. For all their faults, what's going on now at Crapita has more of a feel of "Hang on, our horse is looking skittish too, shut the stable door quick." They may get it closed in time.

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Old 31st January 2018, 12:05 PM   #110
Hubert Cumberdale
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
And now Crapita might be heading a similar way.

"In the latest blow to the outsourcing sector, Capita’s new boss unveiled a radical overhaul of the group’s finances, giving a damning assessment of a company he said had become “too complex” and lacking in discipline.

Jonathan Lewis, who took over as chief executive in December, said the company needed to raise up to £700m through a cash call on shareholders, scrap dividend payouts, and sell non-core parts of the business."

The Guardian

Hory ****!

If Capita goes under that's going to be absolutely massive!
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Old 16th May 2018, 03:12 AM   #111
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According to two committees of MPs, Carillon was brought down by incompetent management:

Quote:
Carillion's board presided over a "rotten corporate culture" and was culpable for its "costly collapse", two committees of MPs have concluded.
...but there was plenty more blame to go around:

Quote:
They also called for a potential break-up of the big four audit firms, after they "waved through" the indebted construction firm's accounts.

And they attacked the government for lacking "decisiveness and bravery" to tackle corporate regulation failures.
Quote:
The MPs also accused regulators of being too "passive" in tackling Carillion's problems, and said government failures had made the collapse of the outsourcing firm "if not inevitable, then at least a distinct possibility".
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44129678

Normally I would blame the shareholders, because it's their job to hold the directors to account but in this case it seems that they were deliberately mislead (as opposed to not paying attention or very carefully looking the other way).

Quote:
They singled out former directors Richard Adam, Richard Howson and Philip Green for particular scrutiny, saying the men had grown the firm through ill-judged acquisitions while hiding Carillion's financial problems from shareholders
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Old 17th May 2018, 11:29 PM   #112
Darat
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The big accountancy firms make their money in auditing by providing a service to the companies they audit, that immediately sets up a conflict of interest. Never mind the number of CFOs etc. in large companies that are former partners/employees of the firms. Also the auditing company may be providing other advice and services to the company it is auditing, or another of the big accountancy firms may be being paid to provide advice as to the best way for the books to be "cooked" to get through an audit.

Add it all up and you have a system which is incestuous and from my personal experience and view totally unfit for purpose.
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Old 18th May 2018, 03:56 AM   #113
P.J. Denyer
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The big accountancy firms make their money in auditing by providing a service to the companies they audit, that immediately sets up a conflict of interest. Never mind the number of CFOs etc. in large companies that are former partners/employees of the firms. Also the auditing company may be providing other advice and services to the company it is auditing, or another of the big accountancy firms may be being paid to provide advice as to the best way for the books to be "cooked" to get through an audit.

Add it all up and you have a system which is incestuous and from my personal experience and view totally unfit for purpose.
Don't forget that they also make huge amounts of income for consulting services, again a conflict of interest when they audit a firm that is following their advice!
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