New corporate misconduct database hailed as 'catalyst for change'

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Campaigners are planning to create Violation Tracker U.K., a comprehensive database on corporate misconduct modelled on US database Violation Tracker. The project enjoys the support of an MP and a peer and has secured funding from charities.

Violation Tracker U.K. will combine the records of the Financial Conduct Authority, the Employment Tribunal, the Pensions Regulator, the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulatory Authority, the Health and Safety Executive, HM Revenue and Customs, the Environment Agency, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Serious Fraud Office and more. Its design will resemble the original Violation Tracker, which its founders say has attracted a global user base, recording around 3m page views per month.

In January, the Joffe Charitable Trust awarded Good Jobs First the dollar equivalent of £25,000 for the project and on Monday, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust awarded the equivalent of £50,000, the two campaign groups have said. The funds are in addition to $60,000 raised in the US by Good Jobs First and mean that work will now begin.

“We look forward to collecting data from UK regulators similar to what we have in the US Violation Tracker,” said Phil Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First, who leads the work on the database. “We hope to create a tool that will be helpful to UK corporate accountability campaigners as well as researchers, journalists, public officials and others.”

Violation Tracker U.K. "will quickly become a national public good benefitting diverse constituencies", said TTF founder Andy Agathangelou.

Kevin Hollinrake MP, who co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, said the US Violation Tracker has become a vital tool for investigative journalism, academia and even regulators to expose misconduct and build a more transparent society.

“The UK is in desperate need of this database to hold finance and big business to account – the Violation Tracker will be watching and wider society will be sitting up and taking note. The Violation Tracker is a welcome catalyst for a change," he said.

Lord Prem Sikka, emeritus professor of accounting at the University of Essex, said people felt helpless in the face of abusive practices.

“Now we all have an ally in Violation Tracker. At the click of a mouse, it will lay bare what the abusers don’t want you to know – their history of abuses and anti-social practices. Armed with this, everyone can make informed choices, boycott the abusers and force them to mend their ways,” he said.

The database could become also become a tool for pension scheme members who are given the opportunity to express a preference about shareholder votes via apps such as Tumelo, and for other pension grassroots campaigners like Make My Money Matter.