Betfred Slammed by Guardian for Conflict of Interest
by Glenn Baird - January 16, 2020
The owners of British bookmakers Betfred, Fred and Peter Done have been criticised today in the Guardian for offering a health and wellbeing service for public sector workers.
It was revealed in the article that the Done brothers have been making millions from a service that offers support for government workers suffering from mental health issues like gambling addiction.
The billionaires who it is estimated have donated £375,000 to the Tory Party since 2016 also own a company called Health Assured who have been awarded multiple contracts to help support the mental health of government workers.
Much of the support they offer is funded by UK taxpayers and the Guardian claim that the brothers have taken home an estimated £5.2 million in dividends over the last 3 years.
Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said the profit that the Drones are making from people’s gambling addiction is an “unacceptable conflict of interest”.
Ashworth went on to say: “Addiction, whether from gambling, drinks or drugs, is a growing mental and public health emergency in society.
“Of course all NHS staff should have access to mental and wellbeing support but this looks like an unacceptable conflict of interest. Corporate gambling interests should be nowhere near our health services like this.”
After being contacted by the Guardian a spokesperson for NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) said it would need to take into consideration the possibility that there could be conflict of interest with their supplier’s shareholders.
A spokesperson went on to say: “The 17 suppliers on our Workforce & Wellbeing Services Framework were subject to a robust quality evaluation – including a clinical assessment of services – in the form of a fully compliant OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) tender process,”
:“As part of this, NHS SBS commissioned an industry leading organisation to assess the financial viability of all potential suppliers in their entirety.
“That process does not currently consider individual shareholders and their financial interests but we will be reviewing our processes going forwards.”
A response came from a government spokesperson saying: “All public sector contracts have due diligence carried out before frameworks are issued, and even when a company is on a framework it does not mean they will receive a contract.
“The public authority awarding the contract should also carry out its own thorough due diligence, including looking for conflicts of interest.”
Whilst the Done brothers have yet to make an official statement on the matter, the following response was made by a spokesperson for Health Assured: “Due to the sensitive nature of the employee counselling service that Health Assured offer, we are unable to provide confidential details concerning clients.
“All public sector contracts we have been awarded have thorough due diligence carried out before are they issued, including looking for conflicts of interest.”