Carry out a full and independent enquiry into the awarding of the tender for the new Social Work accreditation for the 'Approved Child and Family Practitioner status' to KPMG and Morning Lane Associates.
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The concerns are based on the involvement of KPMG in the new accreditation process, as reported in Community Care 8/3/15 (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/03/18/kmpg-morning-lane-associates-expected-develop-pass-fail-test-childrens-social-workers/). ; Social Work is a profession which relies on the confidence of citizens, service users and the public at large. There is considerable evidence and widespread reporting of KPMG’s role in many unethical practices, including insider dealing and promoting tax avoidance (as reported by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (15/4/2013 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmpubacc/870/870.pdf. ; These new arrangements potentially compromise the reputation of Social Work, its ethical code, professional independence, and thereby the ability of Social Workers to work with highly vulnerable people.
Further concerns relate to the awarding of this tender potentially involving a serious conflict of interest for Isabelle Trowler, the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, given her past close involvement with Morning Lane Associates (MLA), a company she set up and ran with her former manager in Hackney Social Services Department, Steve Goodman in 2010. The fact that Ms. Trowler resigned from MLA in September 2013 as well as ‘handed over’ her shares in MLA one month before taking up her post as Chief Social Worker does not mean that further scrutiny is not required. The awarding of the contract to a company, with which she has been so extensively involved and was until recently a major shareholder, may seriously undermine confidence in the integrity of the tendering process, and by association damage the credibility of the Social Work profession. Secondly, Ms. Trowler needs to declare what her role was in the developing and the letting of the tender. Thirdly Ms.Trowler needs to declare what present and potential future financial benefits accrue to her, her family, or associates, as a result of MLA winning this tender.
What we need to see is:
An independent enquiry into the tendering and letting process, including whether the ethical standing of all applicants was taken into account.
That Ms.Trowler makes a full and public disclosure of her role, influence and communication associated with both the tender and any subsequent awarding of that tender.
That Ms Trowler publicly discloses whether she, her family and any of her associates stand to benefit, now and in the future, financially or otherwise from this tender.
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