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Bounty Mutiny: news and update

(103 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 09-Apr-14 10:40:15


As part of our ongoing Bounty Mutiny campaign, we've written a letter to Treasury minister David Gauke, asking him to reconsider Bounty's contract with the HMRC.

The HMRC pays Bounty £90,000 each year to distribute child benefit claim forms as part of the Bounty pack. As lots of you will know, the child benefit form is also freely available online or by phone, and our survey last year showed that some Bounty reps continue to heavily imply (or even baldly state) that women who refuse to give their personal details at the bedside will be unable to claim Child Benefit.

As Justine MN has said:

"By paying Bounty a fee for distributing child benefit forms, the HMRC is effectively handing Bounty a bargaining chip it can use to persuade new mums to hand over personal details for Bounty's own commercial gain. Thousands of Mumsnet users have made it clear that the hours after birth on a postnatal ward are neither the time nor place for the hard sell, and it's time for the government to stop financially supporting this process."

There's a petition asking the HMRC to end its commercial relationship with Bounty that has over 66,000 signatures (please do sign if you haven't!).

Just thought we'd let you know where we're at - as ever, do please let us know what you think, here on the thread, and on Twitter using #bountymutiny. And please share this page or the text of our letter far and wide, and don't forget to sign the petition. And of course if you'd like to let David Gauke know what you think, you can get in touch with him at the Treasury, or @davidgauke on Twitter.


RedToothBrush Thu 01-May-14 11:21:45

They need to be held accountable for what they do and how they do it.

Yes, but this involves how the hospitals allow them access in the first place. They have duties of care which are allowing Bounty to do this, and in fact give them legitimacy in what they do at the same time.

If you look at Trading Standards Regulations then what Bounty do are most definitely not Best Practice. Not by a long shot.

And the involvement of the NHS makes it next to impossible to challenge as women feel powerless or that what Bounty do must have been properly vetted because they wouldn't be allowed on wards otherwise.

It is the combination of the NHS and Bounty that are the issue - not Bounty alone.

This is why anything that legitimises Bounty in someway needs to be challenged with government. The real issue, is that there is a massive conflict of interests going on between a commercial company and the responsibility of public services to people at a vulnerable time.

It is facilitating exploitation. Pure and simple. And there is no justification for it at all. Just as cost is important in the care of the elderly, it should not be at the expense of their dignity nor exploiting a situation of vulnerability. These responsibilities MUST be paid for as a basic minimum standard for people under the care of the authorities.

theborrower Thu 01-May-14 21:54:02

Signed and tweeted.

I also agree with the poster who said, near the top of the thread - I have always said the form should be given out when you register the birth, you need the birth certificate to claim anyway so why not have a stack for registrars to pop in with the certificate.

Exactly, why not? It's ludicrous that HMRC are paying a company to hand these out. What a waste of money.

It's horrific that marketeers are allowed on postnatal wards, with close contact with vulnerable women. It wouldn't be allowed on other wards, so why on postnatal wards?

I'm expecting DC2, and will look forward to giving the Bounty lady a piece of my mind if she approaches me with her crappy pack of leaflets.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 05-May-14 20:40:27

My registrar offered me a Child Benefit form when we registered DD. It is done in some places - just needs to be more widespread.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-May-14 17:32:00


Just to update you, we've had a (not tremendously pulse-quickening) response from Mr Gauke: you can read it here.

Please keep signing and sharing - thanks all.


Lomaamina Wed 14-May-14 20:21:04

Gah! Completely misses the most important points in your campaign, passing the buck in the process.

RedToothBrush Thu 15-May-14 11:55:24

So what HMRC are saying is

"We hear what you are saying, however we are going to completely pay lipservice to you because we think Bounty have integrity we can trust despite your evidence that they have repeatedly shown they aren't properly accountable on any level with their practices. We have no interest in the ethical nature of this arrangement, and are only bothered by value for money. Go bother some other department as we really aren't interested and don't think we have any responsibility to the public about contracts beyond that"

PartialFancy Thu 15-May-14 12:22:31

See, I had thought this was a cock-up by a junior official, bamboozled into signing the contract with Bounty and not being commercially astute enough to realise Bounty benefitted from having the forms.

In that case, I would expect the Minister to say "Thanks for pointing that out, didn't happen on my watch and we're looking for austerity measures anyway, so we'll be reviewing this urgently and closely."

Instead, he's defensive of Bounty.

How odd.

Mind you, HMRC have just tried to flog off our tax data to private companies, so their relationship with the Big Data industry is pretty weird anyway.

PartialFancy Thu 15-May-14 12:37:11

To put this into context, one of the first things the coalition did was review all commercial contracts and tell private providers they would be cancelled mid-contract unless they lowered their rates 10% from the amount that had already been agreed.

When I tried to report changes in my DLA claim, it took three phone calls and they demanded all sorts of personal data (inc telephone number and bank account number) before they'd post me the blank form. I used to just write them a letter.

And that's a disability benefit, so many people applying will by definition have impairments in jumping through hoops like that.

Yet the Bounty CB contract must be defended? hmm

trambampoline Thu 15-May-14 22:47:18

I was recently in hospital while in late pregnancy. Not only was I ambushed in a lift by a bounty lady (who I thought was hosputal staff till I looked closely at her uniform, because even though she was pushing a laptop in a trolley around that had bounty adverts on, lots of things in the antenatal ward were also covered on bounty adverts)

But this was also up in the kitchen. ..

PartialFancy Thu 15-May-14 22:53:49

Blardy hell.

Rather negates the argument that midwives are too busy to give out the CB form.

Maybe they're just too busy playing post offices for Bounty.

Come to that, the CB forms themselves could be attached to the notice board. Not a card to fill in to give to the midwife to give to the Bounty lady to give you a CB form and take your data.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 16-May-14 07:14:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RedToothBrush Fri 16-May-14 07:54:30

I am utterly appalled by what both trambampoline and Suffolk have posted this morning.

I'd like to see what the NHS think of the need for a milk test and its scientific need. I rather suspect this is one of those things that plays on fears without having any foundation whatsoever in being useful and instead is more likely to create anxiety.

How can they possibly be saying they adhere to guidelines with those very clear examples that they are not.

PartialFancy Fri 16-May-14 08:07:44


SuffolkNWhat Fri 16-May-14 10:17:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PartialFancy Fri 16-May-14 10:33:56

I think we shouldn't weigh in on the "milk test" shit from MN Bounty Mutiny, though, however appalling.

It's relevant to the Mutiny when the Minister or Little Nicky try to claim above: "Bounty is a conduit for lots of free samples and best-practice parenting information to 95%+ of all Mums." hmm

But otherwise, the milk thing deserves its own campaign. Bounty Mutiny is about getting sales reps and data collectors off the wards: the milk thing would be worrying wherever the reps were.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 16-May-14 10:37:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PartialFancy Fri 16-May-14 10:44:45

Oh yes, I agree.

But only because I agree that the so-called "milk test" is Fear Uncertainty & Doubt propagated on behalf of the baby milk industry.

There will be people (Bounty!) who claim it's a valuable public service, and who are these depraved loons who don't care about babies' welfare and would deny mothers this essential information?

So there's a battle all of its own that needs to be fought before we can straightforwardly use it as an example of truly gobsmackingly appalling bad practice.

I wouldn't want to see one battle lost for being tethered to the fortunes of the other.

Helpys Fri 16-May-14 10:52:11

Bloody hell. I was against banning Bounty because it's a logistically efficient way of distributing the CB forms and I think there are probably more marginalised mothers who appreciate the Bounty Lady visiting than there are mothers who feel invaded, but WTF- the milk testing company.!?! shock

RedToothBrush Fri 16-May-14 11:14:13

Bounty are supposed to only distribute information that is approved as appropriate and accurate to mothers and is in line with NHS guidelines.

They are also tied by strict rules about promoting baby milk.

I do have to question whether this a) bends the rules b) really is in line with the messages that the NHS promote.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 16-May-14 17:54:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 16-May-14 18:14:16

Nick, the registrar wouldn't deliver the bounty pack, just the CB form. Government forms change periodically but there are far fewer registrars than there are post offices, for example, so your argument would equally apply to road tax forms or whatever.

RedToothBrush Fri 16-May-14 19:00:28

Suffolk thats good, but it does still raise the question about how much thought they give to the information they distribute too and whether they properly vet it.

Given that the FOI requests I did all stated that those NHS Trusts never vetted it themselves and instead only trusted Bounty to adhere to stick to things in line with NHS guidelines, its worrying.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-May-14 16:56:46


Thought some of you might be interested in this write-up of the breast-milk 'testing' story.

Lomaamina Mon 19-May-14 21:11:24

I thought it was too horrible to be true, but I was wrong.

Have you seen this by prof. Alice Roberts in The Guardian

JulesJules Mon 26-May-14 14:58:25

Ha!¬ Came on here to post the Guardian link, but you've all seen it already.

Can hardly believe the utter stupidity of the milk test - do they really not know that the composition of breast milk changes throughout a feed, throughout the day, changes according to the weather, changes as the baby develops etc.?

You would have thought Bounty would be keeping their heads down at the moment.

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