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Freedom of Information requests expose McKinsey’s controversial role in NHS reform

A Freedom of Information investigation by the Mail on Sunday has revealed worrying links of an international management consultancy to the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.

McKinsey and Company has paid for a lavish trip to New York worth approximately £6,200 for David Bennett, the head of the NHS regulator Monitor and former executive of McKinsey. Another former executive of the company who is now Monitor’s director of strategy, Adrian Masters and Monitor’s chief operating officer, Stephen Hay, were also taken out with their families to see Cirque du Soleil, courtesy of McKinsey’s director Nicolaus Henke.

Mr Bennett has not broken the law but as a former McKinsey executive, he should have known he was ‘displaying questionable’ because of Monitor’s future role, which is being massively expanded by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s reform bill.

The company has already benefited from contracts worth undisclosed millions with GPs arising from the Bill and the report mentions numerous former McKinsey employees are already embedded in jobs which are critical if the reforms are fully enacted.

The documents were released after an eight-month Freedom of Information Act probe by Spinwatch’s researcher Tamasin Cave, who said the Department of Health has refused many FoI requests on the grounds that McKinsey advice which has shaped the Bill was ‘provided in confidence’, or was subject to ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Thousand of police officers take up extra jobs

A FoIA request by The Times has revealed the number of police officers taking up second jobs has tripled over the last three years. A parliamentary committee has already pledged to investigate potential conflicts of interest arising from the officers’ part-time jobs.

An Irish environmental disaster that could be averted

Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Mayo county council have been heavily criticised for their failure to protect the country’s largest colony of rare freshwater pearl mussels, the Sunday Times reported. Correspondence between the two bodies that was released after a FoIA request by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) shows three scientists had warned against the repair works on the nearby Delphi bridge that resulted in the smothering of young mussels in a “matter of hours”.

Ed Balls slammed after FoIA revelations

Education Secretary Michael Gove has attacked former Labour minister Ed Balls for leaving thousands of kids scrambling for a place in primary schools. The Sun reports that a FoIA investigation showed Balls was warned the UK was in the middle of a baby boom and the country was to face a serious rise in nursery and primary pupils. Despite that, Balls cut the budget for extra school places to £419m but with schools now swamped, the Coalition has trebled it to £1.3billion.

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