Guardian is reporting on Britain’s own version of the fictional corporation from Robocop: OCP.
Serco runs prisons, health clinics, Boris Bikes (London’s Bicycle Rental service), immigration removal centres, Merseyrail, and any number of outsourced goverment contracts. It might be a stretch to call it Britain’s privatized public service – but its close (As a matter of interest for my fellow Ontarians – they run our driving test centres).
Serco it seems has been engaged in the rather typical practice of gouging its client – the taxpayer – while failing to provide the services its contracted to. Failing to run HMS Thameside properly, charging for services it never provided, mismanaging public clinics … the list grows it seems.
At the heart of the article is the single most important criticism of the Serco operations – accountability. Due to the confidentiality clauses of their contracts its exceptionally difficult to hold them to account. The article is a good read about the Labour penchant for neoliberal reform coming home to roost with choice words from former Labour minister Margaret Hodge.