Serco and G4S under marginally tighter scrutiny

This is new positive news, if the outsourcing obsessed British government takes it seriously. Serco, G4S and a range of other vulture capitalists need to be challenged on their woeful human rights records (via the Financial Times):

Security companies… G4S… and… Serco… will have to go through a process of “corporate renewal” if they are to be considered for future government contracts after having overcharged the taxpayer for electronic tagging services, the justice secretary has warned.

Chris Grayling announced last month that he was… referring G4S to the Serious Fraud Office and subjecting Serco to a forensic audit… after it emerged that the contractors had been billing the government for tracking the movements of offenders who had moved abroad, returned to prison or had even died. But even before the government has completed its subsequent audit of big contracts held by the companies, Mr Grayling called for these security companies to “purge themselves” of the staff responsible for the tagging fiasco.

“I think both companies are going to have to go through a process of what I would describe as corporate renewal if they’re going to work with government in the future,” he told the Financial Times.

“We will want both companies to demonstrate that they have purged themselves,” the justice secretary added. “I want to see both companies able to demonstrate that they have addressed the internal cultural issues that could enable this [overcharging] to happen in order for me personally to have confidence in future that we can work with them.”

Over the past decade, G4S and Serco have been the sole contractors for electronic monitoring, winning deals worth a total of …£700m. Mr Grayling said last month he had “no evidence” of dishonesty by either of the contractors. Some of the MoJ’s staff, suspected of having been aware of billing irregularities as far back as 2008, are currently undergoing a “disciplinary process” as a result of their lack of oversight.

The justice secretary emphasised that when his department goes out to tender for new probation services, it will learn from past mistakes and no longer rely on just one or two big players to provide the bulk of services.

“I am very keen that what we see emerge”‰.”‰.”‰.”‰is not a small number of big companies dominating this world,” he said. “I want a mixed supplier base”‰.”‰.”‰.”‰there will be clear limits on the amount of business, the amount of the market that any one organisation can have.”

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