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 FY18 the firm engaged with policy-makers in a variety of forums:
In our Financial Year FY18 (1 July 2017- 30 June 2018) our engagement centred on issues central to our purpose. As a leading UK employer we care deeply about equality in the workplace and we were proud to give evidence to two Select Committees on this matter: once to the Treasury Select Committee on Women in Finance and then to the Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy Committee on the Gender Pay Gap. We also gave evidence to the joint BEIS and Work and Pensions Committee on our work as Special Manager supporting the orderly wind up of Carillion. You can find out more about our work on Carillion here.
Brexit is another important issue to us and our clients and our activity at the 2017 party political conferences centred on this issue. We held events at the Liberal Democrats (on devolution and Brexit), Labour and the Conservatives (on the topics of trade and investment, tax and immigration) and at the Scottish Nationalist Party conference on the future of financial services.
In addition, we have also provided verbal evidence to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament on immigration issues resulting from Brexit.
We co-organised three events in Brussels, two in the European Parliament, that focussed on social mobility, education and skills and benefits and risks from the automation of the workplace. These events were organised with the participation of Members of the European Parliament and European Commission Officials.
During FY18 we did not provide any PwC secondees to any political party.