No conflict over Michael Keegan’s roles, says Cabinet Office

Written by Public Technology Staff on 7 September 2022 in News
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Crown representative for BAE Systems and non-executive director of government supplier will avoid conversations on bidding

Credit: Ministry of Defence

The Cabinet Office has dismissed reports of conflicts between Michael Keegan’s civil service role with military supplier BAE Systems and his directorship of a government technology supplier with numerous Ministry of Defence contracts.

It said that Keegan plays no part in awarding contracts and that it declared the non-executive directorship as part of its conflict of interest processes. However, the Cabinet Office added that he has agreed to remove himself from any discussions on contract bidding. The two roles were highlighted by the Sun and other publications.

He is married to Gillian Keegan MP, who has served as minister for care and mental health since September 2021 although her position had not been confirmed in new prime minister Liz Truss’s reshuffle at the time of writing.

“We have a clear conflicts of interest process that ensures that all conflicts are identified and recorded formally and this safeguards our procurement and commercial processes,” said a Cabinet Office spokesperson. "Michael Keegan is responsible for managing the relationship between the government and BAE Systems. He plays no role in awarding contracts to suppliers and declared his position at Centerprise as part of the Cabinet Office's conflict of interests process."

However, as a conflict mitigation measure Keegan will remove himself from any conversations about bidding for public sector contracts.

Keegan has worked as the Cabinet Office’s Crown representative for BAE Systems since September 2019, according to his profile on LinkedIn. The department introduced Crown representatives in 2011 to improve the government’s procurement, including through better co-ordination between departments. Most of the representatives currently in post deal with named strategic suppliers, in some cases several, but Keegan is listed only for BAE Systems.

Predating the Crown representative job, in December 2018 Keegan joined IT supplier Centerprise International as a non-executive director. The company, which says it has served the defence sector for more than 35 years, has been awarded a number of contracts by the Ministry of Defence since September 2019 including several worth more than £1m. He previously held a number of senior jobs at Fujitsu, including chief executive of its UK and Irish business.

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