Misconduct probe by Balfour Beatty

By Sandy Guthrie08 May 2014

Three middle managers have been suspended by contractor Balfour Beatty while an investigation is undertaken into allegations of misconduct on a UK gas mains replacement contract.

The Balfour Beatty contract is with National Grid, the private company that connects UK consumers to energy sources.

GMB, the union for energy workers, has written to National Grid with a series of questions about an investigation into allegations of bullying, mis-reporting, fraud and corruption in a gas distribution strategic partnership (GDSP) covering gas mains replacement work in England’s West Midlands.

Balfour Beatty’s services division said this week that it worked extremely closely with National Grid to ensure the highest standards of ethical behaviour were upheld.

It said, “For the past few months, Balfour Beatty has been leading an investigation into allegations of improper conduct on our West Midlands gas mains replacement contract.

“There has been no suggestion or evidence of bribery, corruption or any other impropriety in the award of the contract to Balfour Beatty in April 2013.”

It said that following the awarding of this contract, Balfour Beatty and National Grid had put in place controls to prevent inaccurate reporting of work done under the contract.

“We have found these controls to have been effective, and there has been no inaccurate reporting to National Grid or the regulator,” said Balfour Beatty.

It added that this investigation was focused on localised behaviour by a small group of individuals working for Balfour Beatty involved with sub-contracting in the West Midlands contract – one of two such contracts with National Grid.

Gary Smith, GMB national secretary, said, We understand that gas mains replacement work, running into tens of millions of pounds in value, may have been tainted by allegations of corrupt practice.”

Balfour Beatty said it could not comment further while the investigation continued.

Earlier this week, a trading statement from Balfour Beatty said the company expected a UK£30 million (€36.7 million) profit shortfall in its UK construction business this year, while CEO Andrew McNaughton stepped down with immediate effect.

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