Capita rebrands as 'purpose-led' living wage employer

23 September 2019 4 min. read
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Outsourcing and consulting firm Capita has launched a new corporate brand and announced it will pay all its 40,000 UK staff the real living wage as a minimum from April 2020. The news comes as the firm looks to put a period of intense criticism behind it, having been slated for “Victorian-style” fee claw-backs from former trainees last year, before finding itself in the middle of an NHS patient record scandal in 2019.

Global professional services firm Capita has had a difficult recent history to say the least. The firm has routinely been criticised for its role in the Government’s controversial PIP assessments relating to disability welfare reforms, while in 2018 Capita issued a surprise profit warning. The news sent the company’s shares into free-fall, and prompted comparisons with collapsed outsourcer Carillion.

Months later, the situation worsened for Capita, which suddenly had to contend with potential legal action for billing graduates who quit the company. The case, which was set to be brought by Jolyon Maugham, made a number of startling claims about the process supposedly used by Capita and fellow professional services outfit FDM to retain staff. Capita climbed down from its policy soon after Maugham brought what he called the “Victorian-style indentured labour practices” to the attention of the press, agreeing not to collect the penalty charges.

Capita rebrands as purpose-led living wage employer

While 2019 has seen Capita return to profit following the first year of its turnaround operations, the firm has since been mired in another self-inflicted crisis, this time involving an NHS contract. The consultancy was implicated in the mishandling of almost 50,000 letters relating to cancer screening information across England, as well as for the slow transfer of medical records from English GPs to Scotland. Officials cited Capita’s troubled English GP admin service as being at the heart of difficulties relating to the transferal of important documents between the two medical jurisdictions.

As the firm continues to work to right its course, Capita has sought to draw a line under its negative press in the UK with a dual announcement in mid-September. The firm will give almost 6,000 of its UK workers a pay rise in April 2020 in order to bring their salaries in line with the real living wage. Meanwhile, the firm has also redesigned its corporate logo for the first time in 13 years.

The company announced all of its 40,000 UK employees, from administrative staff to construction, health and call-centre workers, would be paid the independently verified real living wage at the very least. The real living wage differs from the Government’s defined living wage, which is essentially a redefined minimum wage, and currently stands at £10.55 an hour in London and £9 an hour across the rest of the UK. At the same time, a release from the firm stated its new logo was aimed at marking Capita out as a “purpose-led” consulting, digital services and software business, while also working more effectively in digital formats.

Overseeing the second year of the company’s turnaround plan Capita’s Chief Executive, Jon Lewis, said of the news, “Capita’s employees are the lifeblood of the business… paying UK employees the real living wage is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to responsible business.”

On the rebranding, he added that it was important for a business to “ensure its identity and imagery complement its corporate purpose and values.” Lewis also said that the firm had worked to simplify and strengthen its business, prioritising the strategic and operational elements of the company transformation over the last 18 years, making it the ideal time to “refresh Capita’s brand.”