Big Four win London mayor’s Good Work Standard award

The accounting giants are among the first organisations to achieve a new benchmark for high employment standards, highlighting fair pay, wellbeing and diversity, despite concerns raised over bullying

The Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – are among more than 30 London-based employers that have been accredited with the London Mayor’s Good Work Standard, a newly-launched set of criteria covering fair pay and conditions, wellbeing, skills and progression, and diversity and recruitment.

A range of public and private sector employers have signed up to the scheme and following a self assessment process, the organisations are then monitored by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Early signatories include investment bank Schroders, Lloyds Banking Group, electronics retailer Richer Sounds, care provider SilverBirch Healthcare, Lush, London City Airport, trade union Unison, and several London boroughs as well as functional bodies in the Greater London Authority such as Transport for London and London Fire Brigade.

The move comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan urged employers in the capital to help him make London ‘the best city in the world’ in which to work. Khan said: ‘The Good Work Standard will play a key role in tackling poverty and inequality in London. I’m calling on employers across our city to play their part – to pay the London Living Wage, to pursue greater diversity at senior levels, to achieve the highest standards in wellbeing and training, and to ensure that their workers have a voice in the workplace.’

But the awards come at a difficult time for the Big Four. Amid allegations of bullying at KPMG, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has demanded that the four firms, together with Grant Thornton and BDO, provide the regulator with their policies and procedures over whistle-blowing, grievances, disciplinary matters and complaints from individuals outside the firm.

These policies are expected to cover bullying and harassment, discrimination and alcohol/substance. The FRC gave the firms a deadline of 31 August to provide the information.

Justine Campbell, EY’s managing partner for talent in UK and Ireland, said: ‘Here at EY, we are working hard to create an environment where our people feel safe, they can bring their true selves to work, and are treated and rewarded fairly too.’

The Good Work Standard has been developed in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and initially requires employers to complete a self-assessment process before they can move on to a further stage of the accreditation process.

Phil Smith | 30 July 2019

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