LONDON May 13 British outsourcing firms G4S
and Serco should be barred from bidding for
government work until a fraud investigation into their failed
criminal-tagging contracts is complete, a penal reform charity
said on Tuesday.
The two firms were found in July to have charged for
monitoring criminals who were dead, in prison or had not been
tagged at all. The scandal led to a ban on new work, managerial
departures, business overhauls and big hits to shares and
profits at both companies.
While the issue remains the subject of an investigation by
Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the government said in
January Serco could resume bidding for new work, and gave G4S
the all-clear in April after both made hefty repayments and
overhauled their UK businesses and ethics and risk procedures.
The Howard League for Penal Reform, a British charity,
criticised that move and said on Tuesday it would hand a dossier
outlining failures in recent years by both firms in delivering
justice contracts to police in order to assist the SFO inquiry.
The Howard League said it would also send a more
comprehensive report considering failures by other private firms
such as Sodexo and GEOAmey to Britain's Public Accounts
Committee, which has been critical of the role of outsourcing
companies in delivering public services.
"We are confident we have in place robust and accountable
contract management systems which ensure failings do not happen
again," a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said.
"The private sector has an important role to play in helping
deliver much needed reforms."
In a statement Serco pointed to the comprehensive changes it
was making within its business in light of the tagging scandal
and said: "Our programme of renewal was positively assessed by
the Cabinet Office at the end of January."
G4S declined to comment.
(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Mark Heinrich)