Serco

Whitehall can't scrutinise over £20 billion of outsourcing contracts

Two thirds of the £35 billion worth of government contracts held by private companies can't be scrutinised properly by Whitehall, reports The Guardian. The figures come from a National Audit Office report published today which surveyed government contracts worth more than £1 million. It found that only 31 per cent of contracts have a clause allowing the government to access data on profit margins. 

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.

Serco London Probation contract to end this year

In a further sign that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is clearing the decks ahead of the planned probation privatisation, it has announced that Serco's Community Payback contract in London will stop by the end of this year.

The announcement was smuggled into a footnote in an MoJ press release issued today. The MoJ also announced that no new participants will enter the payment by results pilot scheme at Doncaster prison after the end of 2014.

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