North West London


who is living with cancer you have shone a light on a cruel curse and the need for collaborative, resourced and unflagging devotion to the effort to tackle that curse. [Sarah Jones] said that you loved this place. I hope that it is blindingly obvious to you, Tessa, that we love you.” In her seat in the gallery, Lady Jowell was visibly moved. She died a few weeks later, on May 18, 2018.

our duty to act on what she says.” This thought was echoed by Steve Brine, the cancer minister, who quoted what he had found the most moving line in her speech in the Lords: “In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close… She is giving that line great meaning.” unusually, the Speaker, John Bercow, intervened from the chair: “As somebody

Lessons from the collapse of Carillion The government was accused of failing to tackle the problems at the public

sector mega-contractor Carillion as the company headed for collapse. The chair of the Commons’ powerful financial watchdog, the public accounts committee, Labour’s Meg Hillier, told MPs that a confidential risk assessment of the company had shown rising concern about the finances of the company, which provided key public services, including school maintenance and prison management. The collapse cost thousands of jobs and left the government to pick up those functions. The government’s risk assessments were released to the public accounts committee and, after holding hearings on them, Meg Hillier delivered a statement giving her committee’s verdict. “The Carillion papers identify clear and compelling problems with the business in the months leading to its collapse,” she told the House. “… although Carillion had been rated as ‘amber’, owing to its performance against contracts with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice, it was not until after Carillion issued a profit warning in July last year that the government downgraded it to ‘red’. It therefore appears that the government was not aware of Carillion’s financial distress until that

The Carillion collapse exposed government outsourcing flaws

point. In November last year, officials recommended a provisional ‘black’ rating for Carillion – that information has come directly from the papers that we have published – but following representations from the company, the Cabinet Office did not confirm that designation. Carillion collapsed less than two months later.” The committee now planned to hold more hearings on the relationship between the government and strategic suppliers because, she said, some big contractors were now “too big to fail”. Carillion itself had continued to believe that it would receive a government bailout right up to the moment of collapse in January.


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