UNISON, today renewed its call for an Independent Inquiry into privatisation, following news that police have been called in by the Justice Secretary to investigate potential fraud by Serco, in the running of its prisoner escort services for the Ministry of Justice.  Chris Grayling, has raised concerns over staff overcharging for transporting prisoners to courts in London and East Anglia.

The revelations come hot on the heels of confirmation by the Justice Secretary that Serco and G4S had been systematically overcharging for electronic tagging on other multi-million pound contracts run by the companies for the Ministry of Justice.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said:

“Hard-pressed taxpayers are in constant danger of being ripped off by private companies taking over our public services.  That is why UNISON is calling again for an independent inquiry into privatisation – the companies that provide public services, their employment practices, the quality of services they provide, as well as the profits they make at taxpayers’ expense.
“These latest revelations of sharp practice on another Ministry of Justice contract come just before the Justice Secretary takes his controversial Offender Rehabilitation Bill to the Commons.  He will be seeking to persuade MPs that the Probation Service should be handed over to companies like Serco and G4S.
“We believe the Government should postpone this risky outsourcing to allow for an independent inquiry into privatisation. Taxpayers cannot afford another overpayment scandal in a vital service like Probation, which protects the public 365 days a year.

“Public spending is under enormous pressure and people across the country are being hit by Government cuts and the hardship that follows. The public have a right to know that the money they pay to the Government is being spent wisely.”