to transport prisoners around WA
"Indeed the case of Mr Ward provides a shocking glimpse behind the corporate spin, exposing shakiness in the logic that has propelled the global boom in privatisation of core public services".
"Thousands of miles away from scorchingly hot Kalgoorie, here in the UK G4S executives briefed financial analysts the other day. There was a slide show — “Core values: Customer Focus, Expertise . . . Integrity (We can always be trusted to do the right thing)”. Director David Taylor-Smith ran through the company’s UK business, £1.2 billion of it, £700 million with government — the UK Border Agency, the Ministry of Justice, the National Offender Management Service. (Only yesterday morning G4S corporate development director Peter Neden sat in committee room 6 at the Palace of Westminster, arguing the case for “reform” of the probation services.)
“We’re now bigger than the Scottish Prison Service and Northern Ireland Prison Service combined,” said Taylor-Smith. “So we’re starting to get proper scale now in the UK as a kind of a credible alternative to national bodies running prisons.”
There’d been major wins in providing “facilities management” for NHS hospitals: "we do 13 acute hospitals now. So that’s great.”
About Welfare to Work (“when that’s clocked in next year that will be £130 million”), Taylor-Smith joked: “I’m just reminding those taxpayers, if there are British taxpayers in this room, £159 billion spent in this area of government.” G4S will be paid by results, managing subcontractors getting long term unemployed people back into work (or at any rate off the state’s books).
“We see this as providing significant additional growth opportunities,” said Taylor-Smith, confiding: “Two nights ago I was with [government ministers] Iain Duncan Smith, Oliver Letwin, Crispin Blunt and they’re talking now also applying this into the prisons programmes, into drug programmes and also benefit fraud. (It pays to get friendly with G4S. Former Labour Home Secretary John Reid was trousering G4S fees of £50,000 a year even before he’d left Parliament. Now Lord Reid is a G4S director.)
The analysts asked about Australia. The year after Mr Ward’s death G4S lost its contract to run Australia’s refugee detention network and last month it lost the Western Australia court security and custodial contract as well (both pieces of business picked up by Serco).
Nick Buckles, who is paid £27,000-a-week, said of the Australian market: “We haven't had a good run recently on care and justice because of a major incident that happened about three years ago.”
But, looking on the bright side, he said: “there is only two or three major players, typically sometimes only two people bidding for care and justice. And with . . . our global expertise, in time we will become a winner in that market because there's a lot of outsourcing opportunities and not many competitors operating down there.”