Scrap 'vanity project' tagging scheme call

Date: 
Wednesday, 12 July, 2017

Our Director, Richard Garside, today called on the Ministry of Justice to scrap its 'vanity project' GPS tagging programme, and focus its energies on more pressing problems, such as the prisons and probation crises.

His call came in response to a damning National Audit Office report on the new generation electronic monitoring programme.

Among the report's findings were that the programme was:

  • Unneeded: There was a lack of evidence that satellite tagging had any impact on the behaviour of those tagged.
  • Untested: The new technology was commissioned without any prior testing or piloting.
  • Unrealistic: There were some 900 separate requirements for the new tags, including a number that were unlikely to be deliverable.
  • Undeliverable: The timescale was unachievable, leading to at least a five year delay on implementation.

The report also found that the Ministry of Justice pursued a high-risk procurement model that the Government's Digital Service stated was 'not condoned and not in line with government policy'.

Speaking today, our Director, Richard Garside, said:

So shambolic has this programme been that active sabotage would look much the same.

Unrealistic expectations about the technology, an unachievable timetable, pointless meetings, suppliers at war with each other and constantly shifting requirements: everything that could have gone, went wrong.

There is no reliable evidence that satellite tagging is either needed or effective.

It would be better if the Ministry scrapped this pointless vanity project, stuck with the tried and tested radio frequency technology, and addressed more pressing problems, such as the prisons and probation crises.

Richard's comments are covered in today's Guardian, as well as The Times (£).