The largest contractor for the U.K. Department for International Development, Adam Smith International, last week announced a package of reforms, the retirement of four of its executives, and a temporary withdrawal from new DfID procurement after a series of investigations into its misuse of proprietary information, alongside a long-running negative media campaign.
The for-profit firm came under fire late last year when one of its employees — a former civil servant at the DfID — was discovered sharing privileged documents with ASI colleagues with the aim of giving ASI an unfair advantage over competitors. Another offense surfaced simultaneously: Leaked emails showed that ASI executives had encouraged staff to inappropriately intervene in the writing and submission of beneficiary testimonials to a parliamentary inquiry. ASI has since fired the former DfID staffer who shared proprietary documents and launched its own internal investigations, alongside those launched by House of Commons’ International Development Committee and DfID. Last week, the firm announced that four executives would step down in the wake of the crisis, and ASI would reform its operations, beginning by shifting to a social enterprise model, in which the company invests a large share of profits in a not-for-profit foundation.