G4S to bid for probation contracts despite ongoing inquiry

Thursday 19 September 2013

G4S to bid for probation contracts despite ongoing inquiry

Simon Israel Home Affairs Correspondent

Channel 4 News has learned that G4S is among 30 large organisations which have expressed interest in bidding for £450m worth of contracts to supervise thousands of offenders.

G4S to be allowed to bid to run probation services (Getty)

Under plans to reform the probation system, some 225,000 low and medium-risk offenders will in future be supervised by private and voluntary organisations on a payments-by-results basis.

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said that both G4S and its rival Serco will be allowed to bid for these contracts, even though both companies are under investigation for alleged fraud.

Multiple reviews

The audits and reviews were triggered by allegations that both firms had overcharged the Government for electronic tagging contracts.

In July Mr Grayling said neither G4S nor Serco would be awarded work until they had been given a clean bill of health. No decision is expected in the review being carried out within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) until November.

In addition, the Cabinet Office is also in the process of reviewing 28 government contracts with the two companies, worth a total of a billion pounds: 9 with G4S and the remainder with Serco (see box below). There is also a third review being carried out by the National Audit Office.

 

G4S contracts being reviewed by the Cabinet Office:
- Provision of security guarding services to the Foreign Office
- Two contracts for employment related support services for the Department of Work and Pensions
- Two contracts for provision of accomodation for asylum seekers for the Home Office
- Two contracts for provision of accomodation for asylum seekers awaiting deportation for the Home Office
- Provision of security services for estates via a contract with Telereal Trillium for the Department of Work and Pensions
- A contract for FM services for GCHQ

Serco contracts being reviewed by the Cabinet Office:
- Employment related support services for the Department of Work and Pensions
- Off-systems cases relating to child maintenance for the Department of Work and Pensions
- Two contracts for provision of accomodation for asylum seekers for the Home Office
- Two contracts for provision of accomodation for asylum seekers awaiting deportation for the Home Office
- Technology supporting the counter terrorism strategy for the Home Office
- Two support and works services contracts for the Ministry of Defence
- 2 support and works contracts for Ministry of Defence colleges
- Provision of marine services for the Ministry of Defence
- FM services contract for the Ministry of Defence 
- Provision of critical pre-deployment training to prepare UK military forces for deployed operations worldwide for the Ministry of Defence
- AWE GoCo for the Ministry of Defence
- Three support service contracts for RAF bases for the Ministry of Defence
- Rail franchise contract for the Department for Transport
- National Physical Laboratory for BIS/NMO
- School inspections for the Department for Education/Ofsted

Union opposition

The planned outsourcing of the probation service will spell the end of the 35 probation trusts in England and Wales.

They will be replaced with 21 of what the MoJ describes as community rehabilitation companies – partnerships between major public service firms and charities like NACRO and Turning Point.

The contracts will be worth between £11.5m-£72m and will run for 7-10 years.

Hundreds of probation workers across the country staged demonstrations on Thursday in protest at the plans. Union leaders say the plans will undermine public protection.

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