The BBC has said it will “consider” calls for it to cancel its contract with Bain & Co, following the UK’s government’s decision to ban the consultancy from competing for government contracts.
The broadcaster said it will consider calls from veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Lord Hain for the BBC to cancel its contract with Bain over allegations of misconduct in South Africa.
The BBC hired Bain last week to review its funding strategy, following the UK government’s decision to freeze the TV license fee.
In a letter to the BBC seen by City A.M., Lord Hain said “it would seem perverse that the BBC would continue working with Bain” considering the “the gravity of the reasons for the ban.”
The UK government last month banned Bain & Co from competing for government work, following a review of the consulting firm’s alleged role in facilitating former South African president Jacob Zuma’s capture of the country’s revenue service.
A BBC spokesperson said the Bain contract, “was awarded after a competitive tendering process” and “agreed before the Government’s action.”
Lord Hain this week also wrote to president Joe Biden, calling on the US government to ban the Boston consulting firm from working for public sector organisations.
The letter to the president urges the US government to institute a similar ban to the one imposed by the UK in order to “establish a clear precedent… that collusion with corrupt politicians and their business cronies in other countries will not be tolerated.”
The US government has not awarded any work to Bain & Co since 2013, official figures show.
Bain has previously admitted failings in its work in South Africa and repaid fees gained through its work on the South African Revenues Service (SARS) contract.
In June last year, former South African president Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail over his failure to cooperate with an inquiry into the SARS scandal.
Commenting on the news, a Bain & Co spokesperson noted the firm is challenging the Cabinet Office’s decision via judicial review,
“We can confirm that Bain has commenced a judicial review proceeding against the Minister’s decision, which we believe was based on a flawed process,” a Bain spokesperson said.