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.
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?