‘Other news’ Category

Draft Corporate responsibility, voluntary agreements and competition law ‘How to’ Guide available for comment

September 10th, 2010

The first draft of The Cooperatition Incubator‘s ‘How to’ Guide has been made available for download and comment.  Very much a ‘working draft’, this will be reviewed and improved with project partners over the coming weeks.

If you have suggestions for improvements, please send them to andrew.dakers@sensonido.co.uk by Friday 24th September 2010, preferably using ‘track changes’ in Word.

The draft guide can be downloaded in two formats:

The NHS Principles and Rules of Cooperation and Competition

July 25th, 2010

The Principles and Rules of Cooperation and Competition (PRCC), published July 2010, form part of the Operating Framework in establishing the system rules governing cooperation and competition in the commissioning and provision of NHS services in England.  The ten principles include:

“Principle 4: Cooperation and agreements – Commissioners and providers must cooperate to improve services and deliver seamless and sustainable care to patients.”

The guide states “Cooperation is an essential behaviour amongst commissioners and providers of NHS-funded services to share best practice and maintain seamless and sustainable care” with the critical caveat “commissioners and providers should not reach agreements which restrict choice and competition if they operate against patients’ and taxpayers’ interests.”

Corporate Responsibility is the thread that runs through Coalition Agreement – but there’s more work to do…

May 23rd, 2010

The Coalition Agreement: our programme for governmentIn a posting on his personal website Andrew Dakers looks at the Coalition Agreement from a Corporate Responsibility perspective.  Whilst it has much to be commended, he concludes that unfortunately for a Coalition that wants to roll back the state and repeal legislation there is no reference to Responsibility Deals (voluntary agreements) in the Coalition Agreement. He says, “We can only hope the Coalition Agreement commitment to ‘investigate further ways of improving corporate accountability and transparency’ (pg 10) provides the window of opportunity for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to start thinking more creatively in this area under the leadership of Secretary of State Vince Cable MP.”

He particularly highlights the Conservative-commissioned Public health Responsibility Deal report ‘We’re all in this together’ (2009) that acknowledged business concerns about competition law constraints: “One of the problems of encouraging co-operation among businesses to achieve social goals is the approach taken by the competition authorities to any evidence or suggestion of cartels or collusion. What business requires is a clear steer from Government that co-operation to address health issues can take place in a carefully regulated forum. Recommendation 6.4: Government attention must be given to competition issues that arise from actual and potential industry voluntary agreements. Where businesses can work together to deliver health improvements, Government should find a way of providing a safe haven for companies to discuss solutions that would otherwise risk contravening competition law.” (pg 19)  This approach already exists and operates successfully in the Australian competition law framework.

Andrew said at the Liberal Democrats conference in Autumn 2009: “Sure sometimes there is going to be collusive behaviour that drives excessive profiteering and is against the interests of the consumer. This abuse of market power must be cracked down on hard. However there are also great business leaders and companies – even in the finance sector – who would encourage their peers to take more voluntary action on environmental, social and corporate governance issues if they had the tools in competition law. This is particularly necessary when government is one step behind public opinion and scientific evidence – or when government would be over-reaching itself by producing yet more legislation and enforcement bureaucracy. Or when achieving the vast changes in business practices required needs sector ownership of the problem…. Taking this balanced view, that doesn’t tarnish all business with the same brush, is so necessary if we are to shape a new era in capitalism.”

He concludes that reform of competition law that considers its interaction with voluntary agreements as a means of advancing responsible business practice is the gaping hole in the Coalition Agreement corporate responsibility measures – particularly when sometimes more responsible practices demand an increase in the cost of goods or services to the consumer.

New Delhi conference to explore non-efficiency factors in competition law

August 25th, 2009

New_DelhiCompetition law is now in place in around 108 countries  including emerging economies like China, Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam where stringent competitive regulation is considered to be a constructive step to the development of market economy.

The forthcoming International Conference on Competition Law (6-7 November 2009, New Delhi) organised by the World Council on Corporate Governance in association with India’s International Academy of Law aims to examine the status of competition law in various jurisdictions with particular reference to India and the emerging economies where it is being increasingly viewed as an instrument for inclusive growth.

India has been selected as the venue of the conference as it has got a new competition law – Competition Act 2002 as amended in 2007. It has also established the Competition Commission of India with effect from October 2003 and has commenced enforcement of the law with effect from 20 May 2009.  As a consequence, Indian companies are keen to understand the role of the competition lawand its impact on their day-to-day operations.

The conference aims to share information and practice on competition law in various jurisdictions and provide a learning experience for the Indian and foreign companies, law firms, regulatory and judicial authorities and other stakeholders. It also aims to provide a blueprint on how competition law and policy can be evolved to become a powerful tool for fair and competitive markets that, in turn, promote inclusive growth.  

Justice P N Bhagwati, Chairman, International Academy of Law, commented:

“One of the primary aims of competition is to diffuse socioeconomic power of the incumbents and broaden the economic and social base by encouraging participation of new entrants and thus, fostering innovation and growth.

“It improves consumer welfare by stirring up inter-firm rivalry that compels each firm to excel to satisfy the customer by offering better deals and newer products with superior quality at lower prices.”

Andrew Dakers, Founder, The Cooperatition Incubator, added:

“We are really excited that the organisers have decided to include discussion on the social objectives of competition law and non-efficiency objectives in competition law on the agenda.  This makes the New Delhi conference an important milestone in the discussion of competition law and its relationship with responsible practices in individual businesses, across sectors and supply chains.”

Full programme: http://www.wcfcg.net/ICCL_NewDelhi.pdf
Speaker submission guidelines: http://www.wcfcg.net/Papersubmissionguidelines.pdf