G4S

Serco to be investigated over sex assault claim

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.

The great criminal justice contracts monopoly

'Government spends £187 billion on goods and services with third parties each year, around half of which is estimated to be on contracted out services'. So claims a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), published last week, on the contracting out of public services to the private sector.

'Estimated' is the operative word here, for a cloak of secrecy shrouds government contracts. As the PAC notes in its report:

G4S may still be prosecuted

Troubled security company G4S may still face criminal prosecution over its alleged overcharging on electronic monitoring and prisoner escort contracts, The Guardian reports.

G4S and Serco are currently banned from bidding for contracts to run probation services in England and Wales. The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling reportedly said yesterday that he saw this as an opportunity to promote innovation.

G4S to face another fraud investigation into criminal justice contracts

G4S has been referred to the Serious Fraud Office for the the second time in six months, reports the Financial Times (free, but registration needed). A Ministry of Justice audit of 15 big contracts worth £3.9 billion found there were 'serious issues' on G4S management work for British courts.

The FT's Alison Smith argues 'It seems that the contractors are somewhat out of control.’

'Best in the business' bidding for probation work

The Ministry of Justice has announced that 30 bidders have passed the first stage of a competition to win regional probation service contracts.

Bids come from a range of private firms, charities, British and multinational business. The contracts will for the first time require every prisoner on release from custody to receive at least 12 month's supervision in the community.

You can see the announcement in full and the list of bidders here.

Tagging - from criminal justice to 'social care'?

It was reported last week that Capita will be taking over the Ministry of Justice electronic monitoring contracts from Serco and G4S in the new year.

Journalist Kate Belgrave offers a run down of recent press announcements and the worrying expansion of punishment to people outside of criminal justice. She speculates that private tagging companies could be looking to diversify to using the technology in the social care sector, for example with people with learning disabilities and dementia.

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