A british government official decided to join kpmg as a highly compensated companion briefly before he took control of an essential coronavirus task which had awarded consulting contracts to your big four accounting company well worth 1.5m, the financial instances has actually learnt.

In late march, chris townsend was approached by the united kingdom ministry for housing to lead the uks protection programme a cross-government project to supply meals and medication for over 1m clinically vulnerable individuals who had been told not to ever leave their houses through the pandemic.

Mr townsend agreed to come to be chief executive associated with the task a voluntary position despite having accepted employment offer from kpmg 8 weeks earlier. he is a high-profile person both in exclusive and general public industry groups, having previously overseen the governments 1bn internet broadband rollout, worked as commercial manager of chelsea football club and led fundraising for the 2012 olympic games in london which is why he was awarded an obe.

At exactly the same time as mr townsend was approached to take control the united kingdom shielding programme, the project handed about three agreements to kpmg worth about 1.5m. kpmg was given a lead contractor part to assist set up and operate the project without a competitive tender process.

The ministry of housing, communities and municipality, that is led by assistant of state robert jenrick and which put up the protection programme, stated: the decision to procure kpmg solutions had been taken before chris townsend joined the department. an official process had been undertaken with relevant approvals got from mhclg officials in line with procurement guidelines and assistance.

The agreements revealed kpmg was granted the job between march 26 and april 6, by which time mr townsend had recently been provisionally employed by kpmg and was in talks to take control the programme. their visit as mind regarding the protection programme was launched on april 14.

In march, the united kingdom abandoned its typical procurement guidelines, which require all contracts of more than 10,000 to-be openly advertised and tendered, to allow departments to go quickly when answering the pandemic. however, many these types of straight awarded contracts were criticised over if they provide affordable, provide bad solutions or raise evident conflicts of great interest.

Kpmg delayed mr townsends certified visit during the big four firm due to the optics for the move, relating to two people near the choice. one insider stated: there were group meetings to talk about the way the timing of employing him would look. the timeline doesnt look great.

He formally became someone at kpmg final month and its mind of infrastructure, government and medical, where he'll assist lead the companies benefit the federal government on the covid-19 crisis. lovers at kpmg earned 549,000 each typically in 2019.

Kpmg is one of numerous big advisory companies that have been granted consulting agreements worth a combined 100m because of the british federal government in the first months of pandemic.

Kpmg said: following the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, chris townsend ended up being approached towards protection programme temporary role after hed consented to join kpmg. this session was subject to rigid safeguards being put in place. he was perhaps not active in the awarding of any kpmg agreements and this was a particular term of their involvement with the programme.

Mr townsend declined to review.