Government representative to manage relationship with Carillion 'rotated off'
A Government representative to manage the relationship between Carillion and the public sector was "rotated off" the company in summer, around the time it issued a profit warning.
Civil Service chief executive John Manzoni revealed the part time Crown Representative was moved off the construction giant, but praised the Government's full-time team on Carillion for doing a "blinding" job in managing the relationship with the company.
Crown representatives were created in 2011 to manage relationships with key suppliers of public services.
Mr Manzoni said Carillion's was moved off the company in summer, despite the firm issuing a profit warning in July, and said the Government only has 20 Crown Representatives for around 30-35 of its biggest suppliers.
Labour has been demanding to know why the Cabinet Office did not have a Crown Representative in place and described it as "shocking negligence".
Mr Manzoni told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee: "The Crown Rep rotated off Carillion in about the summertime this year."
He added: "As I have said the horsepower around Carillion has been provided by the full-time team headed by the strategic partnership manager for Carillion, who has played a blinding role actually in this particular circumstance."
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett tweeted: "The Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee has just been told that of 35 strategic suppliers (such as #Carillion) only 20 have Crown Representatives, who review performance & risk for the Gov. Will we see another Carillion?"
Mr Manzoni also claimed the bulk of the cost to the taxpayer from Carillion's collapse would be unchanged, as the Government will simply be paying to provide the same public services, although he acknowledged there could be "administrative" costs.
"We have put this to the official receiver with the instructions to the official receiver to maintain the continuity of public services, that is quite a deliberate act.
"And from the moment that this happened there were communications throughout the system... to all of the employees that are showing up across the public sector to say 'please carry on coming to work because you will be paid'.
"The cost of that, of course, is no greater than the provision of the service in the normal course, so the bulk of the activity that for the moment, if we like, focus on the official receiver and understand, is actually the cost of the services that are being provided every day.
"That will carry on.
"There may or may not be some additional cost as a result for instance of the administrative team we've had to put in underneath the official receiver, which again we actually put in place in the company some weeks ago in order to prepare for this situation, a contingency.
"So there will be some administrative cost to that but it is really too early to understand what the total cost (is), but the bulk of the cost of this activity is the cost of the provision of public services which would have happened anyway."