Government ministers and civil servants reguarly extol the virtues of a 'level playing field' when it comes to the delivery of public services. Neither the public, private nor voluntary sectors should have an unfair advantage when it comes to competing on cost, quality or delivery, so the argument goes.
UK Justice Policy Review
MPs have called for penalties to be invoked against Atos Healthcare and Capital Business Services for their delays in assessing disabled and sick people's entitlements to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee cited figures showing that 'of the 229,700 claims made up until December 2013 decisions had been made in fewer than 20 per cent of cases'. The private contractors carry out face-to-face interviews with claimants, which has led to the delays.
Chair of the Committee, Dame Anne Begg, said:
'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:
The government is failing to manage contracts with a host of private companies delivering a range of services to departments and members of the public, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) claims in a new report.
Contracts for prison and probation work in the UK are dominated by a few multinationals and large voluntary sector organisations, according to new research by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
There has been a lot of discussion over recent months about the ongoing decline in the official crime rate. Yesterday's data from the Office for National Statistics suggested crime had fallen by 10 per cent during the last year.
What's going on?
The UK Justice Policy Review team is tracking crime trends across the United Kingdom as part of its annual reports. You can download the first two editions by clicking the links on the right hand side of the page.
A day after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said that G4s may still be prosecuted over claims that it overcharged on electronic monitoring contracts, the company has announced via its website that it is to repay £108.9 million to the Ministry of Justice.
The company's Chief Executive, Ashley Almanza, said:
The third in an annual series by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, supported by the Hadley Trust, tracking year-on-year developments in criminal justice and social welfare across the UK. Combining analysis of the main developments with key data on issues such as spending, staffing and the numbers going through the criminal justice system, UK Justice Policy Review offers an accessible overview of UK-wide developments.
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.
An incoming Labour government should abolish Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and replace them with boards that can better represent local interests, according to former Home Secretaries Alan Johnson and Charles Clarke.