CH2M-Jacobs merger gives HS2 headaches

 

In the wake of the recent Jacobs and CH2M merger, HS2 Ltd has taken action to address potential conflicts of interest. 

The merger has left employees of the combined company on both sides of the process of building the new high speed rail link.

It follows controversy last year that saw engineering giant CH2M pull out of a £170m HS2 contract over allegations of a conflict of interest.

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Jacobs’s £2.1bn acquisition of CH2M, which was announced last August, was completed last month. It opened up further possible conflicts of interest where CH2M staff working with HS2 Ltd would have been involved in a number of existing and potential contracts involving Jacobs.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: ‘We have been well aware of potential conflicts that could arise as a result of the Jacobs and CH2M merger for some months. Steps have already been taken to ensure appropriate controls are in place and we are confident in their robustness.

‘These steps include ensuring employees of CH2M working with HS2 have not been permitted to take part in any procurement process involving Jacobs in future contract opportunities. In existing contracts, where necessary, CH2M employees have been replaced in key decision-making roles with HS2 Ltd employees.’

The spokesperson added: ‘To futureproof our relationship with Jacobs and CH2M, we have also developed a Conflicts of Interest Plan, working with both Jacobs and our Conflicts of Interest Panel, to ensure that any actual or perceived conflicts are properly managed.’

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