Monday, November 11, 2013

Contracting out, corporate values, and dishonesty

Over the past few years, the UK has given us a series of warnings on the dangers of contracting out government services, with large contractors under investigation for fraud, sexual assault, more fraud, and falsifying performance data. (which would be, you guessed it, fraud). But now they've found some new crimes to commit: forgery and contempt of court:

G4S has launched an internal investigation after a judge referred a number of its employees for prosecution for forgery and contempt of court in a "truly shocking" case of what he called disgraceful behaviour.

In the high court, Mr Justice Mostyn said three employees from G4S running Brook House immigration removal centre in Gatwick, East Sussex, had been involved in forging a document and contempt of court after giving witness statements during an immigration appeal involving allegations of torture at the hands of a foreign government.

In an excoriating judgment which has been referred the attorney general and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mostyn said G4S employees Tamara Burns, Marilyn Bennett and Matthew Newman were involved in "corruptly redacting" an official certificate, an action which helped bolster the case against an immigrant who was being deported from the UK.

I guess if you think its fine to falsify your performance data, you won't bat an eyelid at making false statements to a court to avoid accountability for a dodgy deportation.

It is hard to believe that actual public servants would do this. But that's the problem: contracting out brings corporate values and all the dishonesty that implies. As for accountability and responsibility, they're simply problems to be worked around, rather than fundamental duties on anyone exercising state power.