PracticeConsultingRivals swoop on Binders’ work

Rivals swoop on Binders' work

Big Six firm wins 14 of 21 audits put out to tender by Audit Commission and attracts nine Binder Hamlyn staff consolidating its position in public-sector market. Jonah Bloom reports.

KPMG has bagged a bigger share of local authority and NHS work at the expense of several Big Six rivals.

The firm has also poached nine of Binder Hamlyn?s public-sector staff.

As part of its annual round of market-testing, the Audit Commission put 21 audits out to tender. Five operators competed to win the work: KPMG, Price Waterhouse, Coopers & Lybrand, Kidsons Impey and District Audit. KPMG scooped 14 of the contracts, the District Audit six, and Price Waterhouse one.

KPMG?s victories were mainly at the expense of Binder Hamlyn, which ann-ounced it was dropping out of the public sector just two weeks ago ?because Audit Commission fees were too low?.

At the time of Binder?s announcement Accountancy Age revealed four key public-sector staff from Binders had moved to Kidsons Impey because Binders had no intention of competing for the Audit Commission work. It emerged this week that another nine Binders public-sector staff have moved to KPMG?s Birmingham office.

Coopers also lost out in the latest round of tenders, losing the Lincolnshire County Council audit to KPMG and the London Borough of Redbridge audit to the District Audit. Coopers refused to comment.

PW retained the contract to audit the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

KPMG public-sector partner Colin Horwath said he considered the new contracts to be symbolic, and denied they were unprofitable.

?We?re strongly committed to the sector,? Horwath said, ?and we see these victories as sending out a strong signal about both the quality of our work and our presence in the market.

?This kind of work requires a high degree of commitment and investment, so it makes good commercial sense to go for more work, and we?re very happy to get it,? he added.

District Audit chief executive David Prince was equally pleased with his organisation?s performance.

?This demonstrates the confidence the public sector has in the quality of our work, and our ability to win in tough competition.? In fee value terms District Audit claims it has won 40% of the work.

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