According to HSJ, Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s family-owned company were awarded an NHS contract for services – but the Secretary failed to declare any connection to Topwood Ltd
In 2019, Topwood Ltd won a contract via the NHS Shared Business Services framework – at which time, Matt Hancock was the health and social care secretary.
COVID-19 created a new spotlight for controversy over the cost of independent consultants, the price of the COVID-19 app, and which companies gained immensely lucrative PPE contracts. Then, healthcare workers were distraught to find that their wages would not be raised in 2021 – despite the unprecedented year that will leave many with symptoms of PTSD.
What is Topwood Ltd?
Topwood Ltd focuses on waste disposal, and was owned by Hancock’s sister and mother at the time the company received the contract. While cabinet members have generally little to do with contract allocation via NHS England frameworks, they are still required to explain any conflicts of interest that exist for them.
The framework contract means a company is listed for local NHS organisations to use – creating a high-traffic route to being commissioned for jobs.
At the time, he did not declare any conflict of interest by highlighting his close affiliation with the company.
Now, Secretary Hancock owns 20 shares.
‘In accordance with the ministerial code’
The Department of Health and Social Care commented that: “All declarations of interest have been made in accordance with the ministerial code.”
The Department further threw support behind Secretary Hancock, stating that he had actually followed all transparency mechanisms.
In December 2017, he only declared that his brother was the CEO of Crowd2Fund, with later moments continuing the silence about his close connection to Topwood Ltd. However, in April 2021, Mr Hancock declared that he now owns shares in Topwood. This was originally reported by the Guido Fawkes blog.
With the current lobbying scandal continuing to unfold throughout Westminster, connections like this are emerging for senior civil servants and ex-Prime Ministers. With the current Cabinet becoming implicated, the stakes of an appropriate response from Downing Streets are increasing.
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