Who’s the new girl?

A reader alerts me to the existence of a listed company called Regeneration Rethought – U+I. Aside from having a name which makes ChangeUK The Independent Group sound catchy, we learn they are:

a property developer and investor focused on regeneration.

with:

a £9.5 billion+ portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community focused regeneration projects including a £145.7 million investment portfolio in the London City Region, Manchester and Dublin.

So they’re a multi-billion dollar property development outfit. Okay, fair enough. On 3rd April 2019, they appointed a new non-executive director, Professor Sadie Morgan. Here’s what the press release said:

The role will oversee delivery of U+I’s commitments to community engagement in PPP projects, as well as also oversee the establishment of a workforce advisory panel, in accordance with new governance regulations, to support employee engagement and membership of an internal design panel – all intended to reinforce U+I’s commitments to talent, creativity and community.

Ah, so this company is big into PPP – public-private partnerships – whereby the government gets capital expenditure off its books by signing dubious long-term contracts with favoured companies to provide government services.

Prof. Morgan is a founding director of dRMM Architects and Stirling prize winner. And she is Professor of professional practice at Westminster University. She chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed 2, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, and is one of ten commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission. Prof. Morgan is also one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates for the Greater London Authority.

Ah yes, High Speed 2, that shining example of slick project execution and sound financial stewardship. And how handy that someone so close to government decision-makers in the fields of property development and planning should find themselves on the board of a large private property developer! So what will Prof. Morgan bring to the table in return for her undoubtedly hefty pay packet, aside from a direct line to the decision-makers in local government?

“I am delighted to be taking on this ground-breaking role. I was brought up in a co-operative community in Kent that had been set up by my grandfather, and so I grew up with a real sense of inclusion, purpose, community and responsibility. This appointment allows me to help U+I turn those beliefs and commitments into action involving what will, I am sure, be major schemes of huge importance to the communities involved.”

Paragraphs of leaden, jargon-filled corporate-speak which reads as though it were churned out by an algorithm created by someone who grew up in locked shed with a nothing but a pile of local government newsletters for entertainment. But it’s not all bad news: we don’t need to worry ourselves about human trafficking or slavery:

U+I believes that the detection and reporting of slavery and human trafficking is the responsibility of all employees. During the year all employees were required to undertake specific training with regards to Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking. In addition, all new employees are required to complete this training as part of their induction process. Should any employee have a suspicion of slavery or human trafficking in any part of the business or supply chain they are encouraged to raise this at the earliest opportunity.

Why do I get the impression this is more serving the interests of those giving the training than anyone being enslaved or trafficked?

We are committed to ensuring that human trafficking and slavery play no part in any activities carried out by U+I or our supply chain.

That’s a relief, but why use slaves anyway when you have taxpayers?

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12 thoughts on “Who’s the new girl?

  1. U+I (I think the Regeneration Rethought is just a tagline, not part of the name) is a rebranding of Development Securities, a listed developer with quite a long history.

    They used to be Central London specialists but it looks like they’ve moved into regeneration & PPP projects and have rebranded to make themselves look all fluffy and inclusive and welcoming to the public sector.

    Getting a lefty quangocrat on board makes perfect sense. The website is chockfull of bollox about placemaking and community.

    CEO total remuneration £1.8m last year.

  2. As much as I’d love all training to be live (because it would more deeply fill my pockets – albeit – not slavery specifically), the training will be a 20 minute click-through patronising computerized voice reading out the slides and answer multiple choice questions put together by some management consultancy that’s charging 98% of what it would cost to hire a real trainer to do the real gig.

    These things are getting quite clever now and detect when you have just skipped to the end to sign off.

  3. the training will be a 20 minute click-through patronising computerized voice reading out the slides and answer multiple choice questions put together by some management consultancy that’s charging 98% of what it would cost to hire a real trainer to do the real gig.

    Oh yes, I had to do an annual anti-corruption training course just like this in my last place of work. Of course, it neatly sidestepped the manner in which actual corruption takes place, and which I saw on a daily basis in Nigeria.

  4. “…why use slaves anyway when you have taxpayers?”

    I see what you did there Tim 😉

  5. “the training will be a 20 minute click-through patronising computerized voice reading out the slides and answer multiple choice questions put together by some management consultancy”

    Such was how a DoD company I worked for did diversity training. Boring. As a challenge I would take it in French. I don’t speak French.

  6. Let’s hope that U+I also requires its employees (and maybe its contractors) to observe and report all cases where people are “press ganged” into serving years in the Royal Navy. That is a nasty practice which should be stamped out immediately.

  7. But we have millions of newly minted graduates hungry for jobs and to excel.
    We also have a vast education industry desperate to drag in punters.
    Hence we must find jobs for the graduates.

  8. OT : The toppling of Theresa: Day 28

    “…Yesterday Mrs May accused her Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, of failing to co-operate fully with a Whitehall investigation launched by Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, and ordered him out of his department. The inquiry related to the leaking of information from a meeting of the National Security Council about the Government’s deal with the global Chinese company Huawei. It was an investigation that seemed designed to eclipse the real issue, the real security threat that a government contract with Huawei to allow it to help build its 5G network would constitute.

    May, a veritable modern-day Goneril, told Williamson that ‘the probe’ had found ‘compelling evidence’ suggesting his ‘responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure’ and that ‘no other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified’.

    Williamson strenuously denied that he was in ‘any way involved in this leak‘ and questioned the quality of the investigation. This raises a crucial question: where is the evidence?…”
    https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/the-toppling-of-theresa-day-28/

    .
    Related

    “…The Prime Minister of this country delegated the future of a Secretary of State to a civil servant, accepted the civil servant’s accusation before consulting her minister, and offered the minister only two choices, resign or be dismissed. After their meeting, she wrote a formal letter: ‘No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.’ That’s not a citation of proof – at best, that’s a diagnosis by exclusion.

    May is so weak that she delegates responsibility for cabinet appointments, then accepts a civil servant’s word over her minister’s..”

    May has aided “Britain’s EU-loving civil servants matching the EU’s unelected executives: make policies and treaties in secret, avoid accountability, tell elected politicians what to endorse, demand secrecy, and take the scalps of elected politicians who don’t toe the line.”
    conservativewoman.co.uk/britain-is-now-ruled-by-civil-servants/

    My mother asked today “When will someone shoot May?”

    I daily expect to hear that the PM has decided that this month will have a 32nd day, a 33rd day, a 34th day etc, thus ensuring that we shall never be allowed to see the end of May.

  9. “Oh yes, I had to do an annual anti-corruption training course just like this in my last place of work. Of course, it neatly sidestepped the manner in which actual corruption takes place, and which I saw on a daily basis in Nigeria.”

    I had to complete an anti-bribery training module recently at the firm I’m contracting for (large consultancy/accountant). One of the multiple choice scenarios was about being asked for a bribe by border control in an unnamed African country. The correct answer was to demand to see their manager. Remembering your posts here about Nigeria, I found this amusing – their manager would probably be in on it.

  10. One of the multiple choice scenarios was about being asked for a bribe by border control in an unnamed African country.

    Our training was all about some dodgy bloke cold-calling you offering information or help with a bid, which was about as subtle as Del Boy’s cocktail. The training was supposed to help us spot it and report it.

    Nowhere did it mention senior managers subcontracting work through companies owned by their relatives, and who to report that to when the person in charge of the subsidiary was the main culprit.

  11. @Silverite on May 3, 2019 at 8:33 am

    “One of the multiple choice scenarios was about being asked for a bribe by border control in an unnamed African country. The correct answer was to demand to see their manager.”

    ROFL – then you must bribe border control chap and his manager

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