In Profile : Serco Group Plc

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20 June 2015

We deal in humans as assets, as a resource for profit

The incarceration of people is big money, it is continuous money and Serco knows it.
The opportunity to programme prisoners, is definitely a mission gone live carried out through the many pseudo-charitable trusts acting as mentors to prisoners. Once you have the victim under your wing they are released to find employment in the work programmes which are looking to cease in having mandatory criminal checks for those who end up as nothing other than taxpayer paid slaves for the corporate outsource providers.

And, as if the ability to have free employees is not enough, which of course to the corporate never is, they take this cash on top of cash from the beleaguered taxpayers in the running costs they charge for the outsourced contract they are contracted to satisfy. As part of satisfying this contract in order to maximise profit, they shift responsibility for their contracted services back to the taxpayer by forcing certain compliance’s under statute such as fines for waste bin protocols, parking, litter, speed cameras, hikes in VAT, hikes in insurance, the requirement of which is determined under statute.

Of course for such a system to function, they must have a means to entrapping the hapless into declaring liability for a commercial debt account and then to consent to be governed by the statute and its rules. Unfortunately in using the term hapless I also expose the severity of this off the mark thinking by the fact 99% of people have no idea this deception is being played. For so long has this script been presented as tradition and the normal scheme of things, we have forgotten our heritage.

Within the work programme Bill going through the House of lords presently, Serco is earmarked to take an even larger piece of the British civil pie as it presents its own civil government to which already, we see real elected governments taking advice on how to ease the shift from elected to corporate dictatorship without the taxpayer finding out, at least not until after some concocted false flag event upon which they wait to shift all things Contingency Act and emergency power as overlord of all nations.

Technological advances in monitoring offenders are hailed by government as being cost-effective and foolproof. However, the system is only works to benefit big business. Dr Craig Paterson monitors.
The continued growth of commercial criminal justice in the UK[1] has shone increasing light upon the relationship that exists between big business and politics.

One example of this is provided by the development of electronic monitoring offenders. The history of electronic monitoring dates back 17 years and highlights the way in which neo-liberal privatisation policies can develop without any clear evidence in support of their use. Instead, the drive behind electronic monitoring has been fundamentally political, ideological and technological. The electronic monitoring of offenders has been part of a gradual shift towards the use of surveillance technologies in community punishments. The evidence base to support this shift has emanated from out of the Home Office and the commercial contractors that administer electronic monitoring-based sanctions. Unsurprisingly, there are questions to be answered here about the neutrality of the findings as well as the way in which they are presented to the public through the media.

In reality, there is a dearth of information about how commercial contractors implement governmental policy and how this is recorded and audited. This was acknowledged by the Audit Commission in January 2006 which acknowledged a lack of rigour on behalf of the Home Office when measuring the performance of commercial contractors[2].

The human consequences of insufficient regulation and monitoring are all too clear. The tragic death of Marian Bates in Nottingham in 2003 involved Peter Williams, an offender subject to electronic monitoring-based restrictions. An investigation into the supervision of Williams found that he had not been monitored by Premier Monitoring Services, a subsidiary of Serco, for two weeks and that the relevant Youth Offending Team were only informed of his absence on the morning of Mrs Bates’s murder[3]. The report concluded that the commercial contractor involved had misunderstood its responsibilities as laid out in the contract with the Home Office.

When questioned about this failure to report breaches in front of The Committee of Public Accounts on 15 March 2006, the boss of Serco’s Home Affairs division, Tom Riall, could not have been clearer about the reasons for the misunderstanding[4]. Riall admitted that they were not subject to performance deductions under the old contract for failures to report breaches on time. In other words, there was no incentive as penalties were not high enough under their old contract.

Riall’s brazen admission will not come as a surprise to those who keep a close eye on developments in the world of commercial criminal justice. The Home Office started looking at electronic monitoring in the mid 1980s and having found no clear evidence from the US about its effectiveness, started unsuccessful trials in the UK in 1989. The failure of the 1989 trials did not halt the development of further pilots in the mid 1990s which again failed to provide undisputed support for the utility of electronic monitoring. This did not stop electronic monitoring-based curfew orders which were rolled out across England and Wales in 1999 to accompany the early prison release project that had also started that year.

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The Offenders Tag Association, an organisation with intimate connections within the Conservative Party, had been advocating the use of electronic monitoring since 1982. In the mid-1980s, the idea of electronic monitoring was picked up by John Patten MP, an ambitious junior minister in pursuit of an eye-catching policy to make his name with. Despite the failure of the original electronic monitoring trials in 1989[5], Patten continued to advocate their use as an effective alternative to imprisonment[6].

New Labour’s election success in 1997 brought renewed growth to the electronic monitoring industry at a time when stagnation had seemed inevitable. From 1999 onwards, the number of offenders subjected to electronic monitoring-based restrictions grew exponentially as successive Home Secretaries encouraged its use and technological developments introduced biometric systems and satellite tracking. Despite this, there was still no clear evidence-base that identified what electronic monitoring actually achieved[7].

Understanding the reasons behind the growth of electronic monitoring and other areas of the public sector requires an appreciation of the networks of power that stimulate pro-privatisation policies. Corporate Watch has previously highlighted the role of the Scottish Executive in donating nearly three quarters of a million pounds to Serco in 2002 to make the running of a private prison seem more economical[8].

In 2005, John Williams, a former executive of Serco found himself moving to a senior role overlooking public service reform within government[9]. Then, in June 2006, Serco director Margaret Ford was made a Labour peer, only three months after Tom Riall had admitted that Serco had not been complying with its Home Office contract because it did not receive sufficient financial penalties for not doing so[10]. It seems that it is not evidence of effectiveness that stimulates growth in electronic monitoring but the development of key relationships in the corridors of power at Westminster.

Serco are also moving into healthcare partnering with two NHS trusts in London. Balfour Beaty yet another huge intelligence company is already huge in partnering the NHS, Blackburn a prime example. GSTS Pathology, the joint venture between Serco, and two London hospital trusts, was supposed to show what the private sector could bring to healthcare. Serco CEO Chris Hyman said he saw healthcare as a major growth area and talked of the critical role his company could play in helping the NHS. So staff at King’s College Hospital in Brixton, London were surprised to find out in September that instead of the efficiency savings Serco had promised, the hospital had actually lost money in the first six months of the partnership. Frank Wood, a biomedical scientist and Unite union steward at King’s, said the hospital’s £217,000 loss was a stunning turnaround from a successful income generating service, and called the partnership with Serco a reckless adventure that risks damaging irreparably a high quality clinical service. The trust should pullout now, not later, he said.

The biomedical scientist: Interview with Frank Wood

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Serco have recently had a recruitment drive and caught a serious high level and decorated Committee of 300 Brigadier Jolyon Jackson, yet make clear they will not be involved in army recruitment as I suppose they will not move troops on their rail portfolio, nor tie the troops into their own satellite systems, and of course never thoughts of future MOD contracts to treat the wounded at their very own London Trusts? Yes, I think we can safely say Serco would never dream of profit before service, it is profit, monopoly, then service, service of itself at the taxpayers expense :
THE Army’s head of recruitment has landed a six figure salary with a firm bidding for a £1billion MoD contract to take over Army recruitment.

Brigadier Jolyon Jackson will join the private sector giant Serco in a training role early next year. He was part of the team who will decide whether the company or rival Capita will land the deal to run Army recruitment. But senior military sources said although his new role has caused alarm in the Armed Forces he is not breaking any rules.

Senior military sources said: Given the amount of money involved in private sector recruitment this certainly raised eyebrows. But it was very carefully looked at and Brigadier Jackson has been told that there are no rules being broken therefore the appointment apparently will go ahead. Another senior officer involved in recruiting said he was amazed to learn his boss was joining one of the main contenders for the privatisation of Army recruiting.

The deal for the Recruitment Partnership Programme will be awarded in the next few weeks and comes as the Government prepares to axe 5,000 soldiers. From next year, either the Serco Consortia or another led by the British company Capita will take over the recruiting process for the next 10 years. Whoever clinches the deal will need to sign up at least 9,000 recruits every year. The MoD last night said Brig Jackson’s appointment did not breach any Government rules and insisted he would not be involved in the RRP if Serco won the deal. But it is understood that as the Army’s director of recruiting and training (operations), Brig Jackson and his team would have played some role in deciding to which consortia the contract should be awarded.

Brig Jackson is thought to have told senior commanders as soon as he landed the job with Serco three months ago. Once he had informed them he withdrew himself from having anything to do with the selection process.

Serco said in a statement:

This process has been totally open and transparent and he will not be involved in Army recruitment should we win the contract.

An Army spokesman added: Brigadier Jolyon Jackson will leave the Army soon to take up an industry position that has nothing to do with the Recruiting Partnership Programme. This appointment has been approved by the independent advisory committee on business appointments, satisfying the strict rules that apply. It is claimed the RPP will save the service more than £250million overall by hiving off administration, marketing and testing. The programme will cover every aspect of recruitment from the initial advertisement designed to attract would-be soldiers to the individual’s arrival at basic training. Serco Group is a Government services provider based in Hook, Hants, and operates in several sectors including transport, prisons, health, aviation and defence.


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[1] Paterson, C. (2006) Virtual Private Prisons. Corporate Watch. Issue 29.
[2] National Audit Office (2006) The Electronic Monitoring of Adult Offenders. London: The Stationery Office, p.12-13.
[3] HM Inspectorate of Probation (2005) Inquiry into the Supervision of Peter Williams by Nottingham City Youth Offending Team. London: HMIP.

[4] House of Commons Minutes of Evidence Taken before The Committee of Public Accounts, Transcript of Oral Evidence to be published as HC 997-I, ( 15 March 2006.

[5] Mair, G. and Nee (1990) Electronic Monitoring: The Trials and their Results. Home Office Research Study 120. London: HMSO.
[6] Patten, J. (2006) Speech to the House of Commons. 22nd February 1990. Parliamentary Debates. Commons. Fifth Series, Columns 1060-61.
[7] Mair, G. (2005) Electronic monitoring in England and Wales: evidence-based or not? Criminal Justice. Vol.5, No.3, pp. 257-277.

[8] Corporate Watch (2005) Scotland PLC: Immigration and Asylum in Scotland. Accessed 26/7/06.

[9] Nathan, S. (2005) CBI Influencing Public Service Reform. Prison Privatisation Report International. No.68, May/June 2005.
[10] National Regeneration Agency (2006) The Baroness Ford of Cunnighame. English Partnerships. Accessed 26/7/06.

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