In August 2022, Jacob Rees-Mogg (in his former capacity as Cabinet Office Minister) decided that Bain should be excluded from bidding for Cabinet Office contracts for a period of 3 years from Jan 2022. This unprecedented decision was made by the Minister over allegations stemming from work conducted at the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) in 2015-2017.
We are disappointed and surprised by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s decision, where recommendations from Cabinet Office officials were overruled by the Minister. We have commenced judicial review proceedings through the UK Courts against the Minister’s decision, which we believe was based on a flawed process, particularly given our prior engagement with Cabinet Office officials over the matter and the “self-cleaning” remedial measures Bain has already put in place since the SARS engagement took place.
Bain has apologised for the mistakes our South African office made in its work with SARS and repaid all fees from the work, with interest, in 2018. Bain South Africa took on the work in good faith, did not knowingly participate in state capture, and did not act illegally at SARS or elsewhere.
Nevertheless, we accept responsibility for those errors and have taken concrete actions to ensure that we do not repeat our mistakes:
- Installed new local and regional leadership in South Africa and our broader EMEA businesses
- Instituted a Global Risk function with an initial focus on public sector work
- Instituted a Public Sector Integrity Committee which undertakes a robust risk review of all Public Sector opportunities prior to proposal submission
- Established a global whistle-blower hotline
We are proud of the work we have done in the UK Public Sector, including our pro bono support to various public sector organisations such as the NHS and the Department for Education in response to COVID-19.
While our UK government contracts may be limited in the short-term, we do not expect this will have a meaningful impact on our overall business. We have a strong presence in the UK and a diverse client portfolio, across sectors, with a long history of delivering results.
We remain committed to operating with integrity, meeting the high standards our clients expect and making a positive contribution through our work.
Read more about Bain & Company’s response to SARS.