We are a market leading professional services firm and our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Part of this is to make a constructive contribution to public policy debates. We maintain a strict policy of political neutrality. However, we believe that our insights can support and inform good policy making, strong opposition and better government. Politicians and policy-makers are important stakeholders to business and we believe it is natural that we build relationships with them in areas of joint interest. We also engage with politicians, officials and regulators outside of the UK to reflect the international dimension of our firm’s work.
The PwC Political Liaison Policy applies to all UK staff and partners and governs the way that we interact with the UK political parties. The Executive Board oversees this activity and our General Counsel sits on the Political Liaison Committee which meets at least twice a year. In considering any assistance (including expenditure on political activities), the PwC Executive Board has regard to ethical considerations, the possible impact on clients of the firm and the firm’s overall reputation.
The PwC Executive Board and our Supervisory Board receive updates on our political activity on a quarterly basis to provide oversight and challenge to our activities. We also consult with our Public Interest Body on political matters when deemed relevant. Engaging with both the Executive and Supervisory Boards and Public Interest Body ensures that there is engagement, decision making and accountability of our political activities at a senior level.
Our Code of Conduct (view here) further outlines the principles which guide our activity. All Partners and employees are required to comply with the Code. We do not make political cash donations nor do we permit them to be made on our behalf although from time to time we may sponsor targeted events for example at the annual party conferences. In the past we have provided non-cash assistance to the parties in the form of secondments. All the support that we undertake to political parties is fully-disclosed to the Electoral Commission.
Our Political Activity Policy forbids the employment of members of the House of Commons, House of Lords or elected officials of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We do employ former politicians and civil servants and we follow all relevant rules and regulations regarding their employment including the Code of Ethics of our own regulatory body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. You can view the Code here
We are not a lobbying organisation, however, there are occasions where we communicate with policy-makers on behalf of our clients and these conversations can fall under the scope of both the UK and Scottish Lobbying Acts. Our compliance with the registers is delivered through our UK-wide policy overseen by the Political Liaison Committee. The policy applies to all staff and Partners and they are required to make an annual return confirming that they have complied with the rules. You can see our UK lobbying disclosures here and our entry on the Scottish Lobbying Register here. As part of the PwC IL network our activities in Brussels are included within our registration on the European Commission transparency register.
Throughout FY19 the firm engaged with policy-makers in a variety of forums:
In our Financial Year FY19 (1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019) our engagement centred on issues central to our purpose.
In January, our Senior Partner gave evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee during their inquiry into the Future of Audit. In addition, we also provided verbal evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry into boardroom pay awards; to the Select Committee on the Bribery Act as part of its post-legislative scrutiny inquiry; and to the Science and Technology select committee as part of their inquiry into the commercial and recreational use of drones.
We continue to advise the official receiver on Carillion and you can find out more about our work on this here.
We held an event at the Liberal Democrat Autumn conference (on local government); events at the Labour Autumn conference (on the topics of trade and investment, tax and immigration); events at the Conservative Autumn conference (on the topics of gender equality, the anniversary of the right for women to vote, trade and investment and immigration); and at the Scottish Nationalist Autumn Party conference (on data and innovation).
Brexit is another important issue to us and our clients and some of these activities at the party political conferences centred on this issue.
In FY19 we co-organised one event in the European Parliament with the European Women’s Lobby that focused on gender equality. This event was organised with the participation of Members of the European Parliament and European Commission Officials.
During FY19 we did not provide PwC secondees to any political party.