To say that this government has a fondness for outsourcing, would be understating it quite a bit. Especially when it comes to the area of justice. Prisons, custody, translation services, and the tagging of prisoners on remand have all been shifted, in part, from the public sector to the private.
G4S and Serco have both been big winners from this latest outsourcing push, with both now managing, among other things, British prisons. So the news that the MOJ suspects that both firms may have been overcharging on tagging contracts that were let under the previous government, is worrying, to put it incredibly mildly
The response from justice secretary Chris Grayling has been pretty strong, with government CPO Bill Crothers to lead a review into all contracts held with the two companies and the Serious Fraud Office being called on to investigate G4S, Serco has pretty much held its hands up.
But if the review and/or investigation kick up a further stink, the government has a massive problem on its hands, as figures from 2012/13 put the value of contracts held by the two service providers at £1 billion – not exactly chump change.
So I ask, are G4S and Serco too big to fail? How do you think the government will untangle this mess? Answers below.
And if you’re after a bit of background music to aid your musing, I highly recommend this little cracker of a song