The Scottish government is facing charges its policy-making has been hijacked by corporate interests, after news emerged that key figures from eight major corporations have been “loaned” to the government’s executive.
The positions give the corporations significant influence over many key decisions, as well as access to information that could give them the inside track on future contract bids.
Three banks, a law firm, several consulting firms and a power company have all seconded staff to the government. Staff from the businesses are working in several areas, including the government’s P3 scheme. Scotland has introduced 85 P3 projects in education, health, housing and transportation, and another 50 are planned.
UK P3 expert Allyson Pollock says the private sector staff infiltration is extremely dangerous. “The vested interests of the private sector are increasingly corrupting the proper administration of government.
“These individuals are increasingly playing a role in designing and implementing government policies which represent interests of corporations. And government departments, instead of being independent of the private sector, increasingly become captured by corporate agendas,” she says.
The government says all those on secondment signed agreements designed to ensure no conflict of interest. But at least one corporation was clear they saw big benefits in being on the inside.
“It’s useful for improving our knowledge of what’s going on,” a spokesperson for Lloyds TSB bank told the press. “[P3] is a very big sector and it’s only right that we keep abreast of what is happening in the marketplace.”