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G4S, Serco, Rotherham all bang to rights, but still carry on business as usual

G4S_bloody_logo-e1394110080578The Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, has uncovered that G4S has been allowed to bid for further government contracts while being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office regarding £110m contracts for cheating the taxpayer over payments for tagging prisoners on probation and for its improper management of invoicing, delivery and performance reporting. Serco is also being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office as well as by the City of London police over two contracts worth nearly £100m, especially in regard to payments claimed for prisoner escorts.

Grayling, the justice secretary, had written in September last year that “we should not award new contracts for the two companies until we have established the facts about both their performance and their corporate behaviour”. The facts have been established: they grossly over-charged for the work done, yet despite Grayling’s denials they are still being allowed to apply for further lucrative government contracts. In today’s culture, driven by this government’s fundamentalist market values, there’s no accountability – it’s always business usual whatever executives or officials have done.

Rotherham is another prime example. What is really troubling is that much of the facts of child sex abuse was known for many years to Council officials, social workers and police. Prof. Alexis Jay’s shock report that some 1,400 children were involved led to loud demands that those officials responsible should be held to account. It is truly astonishing that no senior Council official has faced disciplinary action for what amounts to criminal negligence and Shaun Wright remains in post instead of being sacked and prosecuted.

Moreover there are deeper concerns here that are very disturbing. One is that the authorities in Rotherham feared being branded racist if they took action against the Pakistani Muslim culprits. Both the police and senior Council officials have a duty to administer the law firmly and equally, even if it’s politically inconvenient. They abjectly failed and it sends out a dreadful message unless they are stringently held to account. The other worrying implication is that G4S and Serco are treated with impunity because, like the banks, they are too big to fail.

They are part of a tiny clutch of giant companies, including also Capita, A4E and Atos, which are the privatised equivalent of the old nationalised industries. They have been granted a dominance in the running of previously public services on which the government is now over-reliant and forced to keep them on regardless because there are few, if any, large companies which are capable of taking on their functions. We now have the worst of both worlds – the loss of accountability of publicly controlled institutions whilst at the same time amoral market institutions are parked on us whose semi-monopolistic position gives them impunity.

2 Comments

  1. jeffrey davies says:

    yet why isnt labour not showing their dislike for these private companys ones only have to look to america were they fleece the tax payers without any reserve you see going private wasnt the way when the old way you had more working more people paying their taxes this new way takes the jobs to being little off and the best part they cause fraud but sadly labour not shouting this out they are crooks in suits and dont forget the tories get their backhanders from these companys whilst telling you they ok nice world isny it when politicians now are being not honest has they too have fingers in these companys two masters but decieving all jeff3

  2. David Melvin says:

    Labour will do nothing about any of these issues Michael. Will G4S be at the Labour party conference to protect the comrades?

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