We are a leading professional services firm and our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. In fulfilling our purpose, we aim to make a constructive contribution to public policy debates. We believe that our insights can support and inform good policy making, effective opposition and better government, and in doing so we maintain a strict policy of political neutrality. Politicians and policy makers are important stakeholders to business and therefore it is important 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.
We have a Political Liaison Policy that applies to all UK staff and partners and governs the way that we interact with the main UK political parties. The Executive Board oversees this activity and our Chief People Officer sits on the Political Liaison Committee, which meets quarterly.
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. The involvement of both the Executive and Supervisory Boards and our Public Interest Body ensures that there is engagement, decision making and accountability of our political activities at a senior level.
Our Code of Conduct 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. From time to time we provide non-cash assistance to the parties in the form of secondments. 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. All the support that we undertake for political parties is fully disclosed to the Electoral Commission.
Our Political Activity Policy forbids the employment of elected members of Parliament or 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, we sometimes communicate with policy makers on behalf of our clients and these conversations can fall within the scope of both the UK and Scottish Lobbying Acts. We have a UK-wide policy which applies to all staff and Partners and they are required to make an annual return confirming that they have complied with the rules if they have any such conversations. 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 FY20 the firm engaged with policy makers in a variety of forums:
In our Financial Year FY20 (1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020) our engagement centred on issues including our response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, audit reform, and the future of work.
In July 2019 we provided evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on IT failures in Financial Services, which followed a series of high profile service disruptions in this sector. In October 2019, our Head of Audit and the former Lead Audit Partner for Thomas Cook gave evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee during their inquiry into the collapse of Thomas Cook.
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 the Future of Work); events at the Labour Autumn conference (on the topics of tax, automation and sustainability); and an event at the Conservative Autumn conference (on the topic of domestic policy and public spending).
During FY20 we did not provide PwC secondees to any political party.