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G4S drops tagging contract bid after overcharging error

Private security firm G4S has pulled out of bidding for new contracts for tagging criminals following an overcharging scandal.

G4S had initially refused to withdraw from the process despite revelations that the firm, along with its rival Serco, had been overcharging the Government by millions of pounds for the electronic tagging of criminals.

Private security firm G4S has pulled out of bidding for new contracts for tagging criminals. Credit: PA Wire

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he was pleased that the company had decided to withdraw from the bidding process but revealed the company would still face a review into its deals with the Government:

"I am glad they have decided to withdraw now. We can now get on with awarding that contract, which will improve the monitoring of offenders and deliver savings for the taxpayer. Our concerns regarding the billing for the electronic monitoring contract still need to be addressed."

Government 'ignoring' needs of female prisoners

A group of MPs warned that probation reforms need to be resigned for offenders at prisons like this one. Credit: PA

The Government is ignoring the needs of women offenders with its probation reforms, a group of MPs have warned.

Five years after the Corston report into female prisoners, the Commons Justice Select Committee has found that the female prison population has not fallen fast enough and more than half of women continue to receive ineffective short custodial sentences.

The committee said plans to introduce payment by results in probation services - part of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's so-called rehabilitation revolution - need to be redesigned for women offenders.

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Cable: 'Certainly something bad happened' on tagging

Business Secretary Vince Cable said "certainly something bad happened here" after the Serious Fraud Office was urged to investigate G4S following its refusal to co-operate with the Government over the tagging contract scandal.

Mr Cable told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, "The Government has been looking very carefully at how it gets value for money and has judged that there is some overcharging taking place and we are trying to get down to competitive costs".

G4S has a number of Government contracts, including security. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

He said his Business Department was reviewing the contracts it has with private companies - including G4S and Serco - to deliver public services.

Asked whether the scandal casts doubt over the notion of contracting out state activities to private providers, Mr Cable said, "There are lots of success stories that you don't hear about, but where there is bad practice and lack of care then obviously we've got to tighten up".

What do we know about the electronic tagging scandal?

What we currently know of the electronic tagging scandal is based on a government-commissioned audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It concluded that:

  • Ministry of Justice was billed for tagging of people who were in prison, had left the country and who had never been tagged in the first place. In a few cases, the subject had died.
  • Charging continued for many months, and even years, after it should have
  • Alleged overcharging dates back to at least 2005, and possible 1999
  • Incorrect bills run into the low tens of millions

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he has found "no information to confirm that dishonesty has taken place on the part of either supplier," but added that he wants an investigation to look into this.

Justice Secretary vows to fight 'for every penny'

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he plans to fight "for every penny" that the Ministry of Justice was allegedly overcharged for electronic tagging services.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Earlier he said that a government-commissioned audit suggested that the incorrect bills ran into the "low tens of millions" and that he would take "all necessary steps" to get a refund for taxpayers.

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Labour: Serco and G4S should be barred from bidding

Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan Credit: ITV News

Labour's shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan has suggested that the coalition should bar G4S and Serco from bidding for future government contracts, including a tender to run the probation service.

He also called for both the police and Serious Fraud Office to investigate all of the contracts that both companies currently hold with government departments.

G4S: We will deal with tag contract in prompt manner

A statement from G4S said it believes that any evidence or indication of dishonesty should be referred to the relevant authorities including, if appropriate, the SFO.

G4S is committed to having close and open relationships with our customers and we strive to work in partnership for the mutual benefit of our organisations.We place the highest premium on customer service and integrity and therefore take very seriously the concerns expressed by the Ministry of Justice. We are determined to deal with these issues in a prompt and appropriate manner.

– G4S group chief executive Ashley Almanza

Labour: Electronic monitoring contracts 'shocking'

Today's revelations are truly shocking.

Given the scale of the allegations, the Government must immediately call in the police and the Serious Fraud Office to investigate both companies as fraud has potentially taken place.

There can be no cosy relationships with either company if we are to truly get to the bottom of these very serious allegations. If it was anyone else the police would be asked to investigate potential criminality. Why isn't this happening now?

– Labour's shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan MP
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