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November 27, 2018

EY UK amongst worst businesses for political transparency

By Joe Pickard

EY UK has been named as one of the worst businesses for its political transparency, a report by Transparency International UK (TI) has found.

TI’s Corporate Political Engagement Index 2018 assessed a 104 businesses on their political engagement based on five key themes; control environment, political contributions, lobbying, revolving door, and transparency.

The businesses involved were given a score out of 100 and a corresponding grade ranging from A to F.

EY was found to have the worst overall result out of the Big Four, receiving an F grade. An F grade indicated that the company demonstrates ‘very poor standards’ with TI recommending a prompt review, suggesting there is ‘scope to implement improvement across all areas’.

KPMG faired the best out of the Big Four, receiving a C grade – indicating that the firm demonstrates fair standards but that there is opportunity to implement a number of improvements.

Deloitte and PwC both received a D grade, which is considered by TI to represent fairly poor standards.

Overall, the weakest scoring theme was how transparent companies are around the concept of the revolving door. EY and KPMG both received an F grade and Deloitte and PwC both received a D grade.

The revolving door concept relates to employees of the private sector moving to the public sector, or vice-versa. The UK’s Financial Reporting Council has been previously been criticised for being too close to the Big Four.

The report found only 6% of companies publish any details on secondments to or from the public sector. The report also revealed that 85% of companies do not have a publicly available procedure for implementing a cooling-off period for new employees who were formerly public officials. It stated that this leaves the public sector open to ‘potential widespread conflicts of interest’.

When approached, a KPMG spokesperson said: “We welcome Transparency International’s findings and are fully committed to further increasing transparency in our political engagement.”

EY declined to comment.

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