Latest Public Sector News

22.11.13

Serco prison bid cancelled due to over-charging accusations

The government has cancelled plans to privatise three prisons in South Yorkshire, as the leading bidder is accused of over-charging for electronically tagging criminals.

Serco was in the running to take over delivery of Hatfield, Lindholme and Moorland prisons, but an audit has suggested that the company took money for criminals who dead, in jail, or never existed.

G4S is also subject to the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Serco stated in July that they did not believe anything dishonest had taken place and that senior management had not been aware of the discrepancies.

But while a review of their operations is carried out, both firms will be excluded from new government contracts.

Justice minister Chris Grayling said in a statement: “The investigations remain ongoing. The impact of the delay and the uncertainty this has created mean that for operational reasons we cannot postpone the outcome of the competition process any further.

“I have therefore decided that the competition for these prisons will cease and that all three prisons will be managed by HM Prison Service.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka commented: “We welcome the decision to strip Serco of this potential contract but it should never have been handed it in the first place.

“Privatisation of our justice system is happening without any public debate or discussion and we urgently need an independent review to look at its impact on our communities, staff and prisoners.”

Ed Casey, acting group CEO of Serco, said: “From meetings with the UK Government it is clear that the operational needs of the prisons will be best served by the necessary changes being implemented without further delay. We are also continuing to make good progress across the various audits, reviews and our proposed corporate renewal programme within the timing previously communicated by Government.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Gerry Richardson   25/11/2013 at 11:43

At last - common sense prevails, I would have thought that the fiasco with G4S and the olympics would have raised concerns over suitability earlier

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