National Audit Office report finds that Government appointed consultants with financial link with firm bidding to run home pack scheme

The Government employed consultants to advise them on implementing Home Information Packs with a “clear conflict of interest”, a report released today found.

The National Audit Office report concluded the conflict arose because consultants Christopher Legrand and Richard Theobald had financial links with the parent company of Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation (SAVA), which was bidding to run the certification scheme. The report was prompted by a complaint lodged by the RICS in November last year.

The report also found that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) failed to take sufficiently timely action to investigate concerns about the conflict of interest. "Departmental staff relied on assurances from the consultants themselves that a conflict did not exist,” the report said.

Legrand and Theobald were appointed by the Government as advisors in January 2000. The two sold their majority shares in SAVA to National Energy Services (NES) in 2003 but the consultants retained a 48% share in NES.