Serco to be investigated over sex assault claim

Monday, 19 May 2014

Private outsourcing company Serco is to be investigated by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, The Guardian reports. The investigation comes after the company was forced to disclose a secret internal report revealing evidence that it failed to investigate properly a claim of repeated sexual assaults by one of its staff against a female resident at Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports (free, registration required) that Serco has been awarded a £520m deal to continue operating the Northern Rail Franchise, despite the company still being under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for alleged overcharging on electronic monitoring contracts.

According to the Financial Times,

'Some question the government’s ability to manage complex, sensitive contracts after a number of high profile failures. These include the scrapping of the West Coast railway franchise because of numerical errors, and the referral of G4S and Serco to the Serious Fraud Office over alleged overcharging on electronic monitoring contracts.'

According to the National Audit Office, the paper adds, Serco is one of four big outsourcing companies (along with G4S, Atos and Capita) that hold 'contracts worth £6.6bn last year, ranging from running prisons to training RAF pilots.'