A criminal waste of money
The private contractors G4S and Serco were “sacked” by the Ministry of Justice from the job of electronically tagging criminals last week, after it emerged that they had been wildly overcharging for the service, billing for “phantom” tags that had been removed or were never fitted at all.
Although G4S reportedly offered to repay £24.1 million of the wrongly invoiced money, Chris Grayling, the Justice Minister, decided to conduct an investigation and has awarded the contract to Capita instead. (The shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, calls the “sacking” mere spin, as, he argues, Serco and G4S had already made it clear that they would not bid for the next contract.) Capita, of course, took over the court interpreting contract in 2012, and last month the Law Society Gazette reported that hundreds of cases a week are being disrupted because of the firm’s failure to get the necessary interpreters to the right place at the correct time.
Capita says that “a continuous programme of improvements is being implemented”. But between January 30 2012 and June 30 2013, according to the Gazette, there were 9,800 complaints about the service, which has resulted in vast sums of public money being wasted as cases are delayed.
How very interesting. I do wonder what we shall read about the state of electronic tagging in two years’ time.