New research tool puts spotlight on company law-breaking in the UK

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Kenny Thomas is an old friend who writes a column called Middle Class Political Economist in the USA. He shared this post with me recently and gave me permission to reproduce it here, which I do because I think that the new tool that he refers to in it might well be of use to come readers of this blog:


My colleagues at Good Jobs First have created a new database to track company regulatory violations in the United Kingdom. Violation Tracker UK joins the domestic US Violation Tracker as a way for a variety of users to track down information on corporate misdeeds dating back to 2010 in most cases.

“We hope that Violation Tracker UK will, like its U.S. counterpart, be helpful to a wide range of users, especially those seeking to reform corporate behavior,” said Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, who leads the work on the database.

The free tool allows users to search by company (with parents matched to subsidiaries), headquarters nation, type of offense, amount of fines, regulatory agency involved, etc. It lets researchers get a rapid overview of the determinations of over 40 agencies.

Some highlights: The largest amount of fines, £4.5 billion, has been levied in the financial service industry. Aerospace firms (mainly Airbus) accounted for £1.6 billion in penalties and telecommunications (primarily the now-defunct Nortel) came in at £1.2 billion.

Competition related violations account for £5.2 billion in fines, and £2.8 billion have been assessed for financial offenses. Good Jobs First points out that due to heavy use of warnings rather than financial penalties, health (£413 million) and environmental (£312 million) violations have been much less heavily penalized.

UK readers in particular, check out Violation Tracker UK! Its predecessors, Subsidy Tracker and Violation Tracker, have been used in the statistical analyses of more than 40 academic papers or Ph.D. dissertations worldwide. You will find high-quality data at your fingertips, and a way to help keep track of corporate scofflaws.