A report by the National Audit Office last month said Serco had “failed to meet the targets of moving people to dispersed areas.” [longer-term] housing and complaints. There have been many failures on property maintenance issues in the Midlands and the East of England. ”
A memo leaked by Labor last week revealed that Public Health England had contacted Serco to help prepare for the pandemic as early as January, during the same period failures were identified in the contract of accommodation for asylum seekers.
Serco has already had to apologize after breaking the data protection rules of its test and traceability contract by inadvertently revealing the email addresses of new hires. The company has come under fire after reports revealed that contact tracers were under-occupied and numbers showing just over half of people in the same household as someone infected with Covid were identified.
Little Health Minister Edward Argar is a former Serco lobbyist. The Managing Director of Serco is Rupert Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.The NGO We Own It, which campaigns against the privatization of public services, calls for Argar’s resignation, saying there is a clear conflict of interest between his previous role at Serco and his current role.
Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: “People will be completely outraged to find that Serco’s long list of failures continues. This is totally unacceptable… Nor will the public support the government rewarding Serco with even more lucrative contracts. They don’t deserve a dime more of public money.
“It is time for the government to face reality. Serco should absolutely not be near any of our utilities. And he certainly shouldn’t be allowed to continue running our essential test, track, and trace system, a system he has catastrophically failed to deliver.
“To make matters worse, as Serco continues to win multi-million pound contracts at the moment, their own former public affairs chief Edward Argar is sitting at the heart of government, in the department most responsible for our response. coronavirus. It’s time for Edward Argar to see the conflict of interest clear, to do what’s right, and to step down.
Commenting on the £ 2.6million penalty, Jenni Halliday, Serco’s contracting director for asylum accommodation and support services, said: “This is a big, complex contract and the credits services are normally part of the business processes of public procurement.
“As the NAO report indicates, Serco generally meets the performance standards set by the department and has on average improved our performance in resolving emergency maintenance issues and resolving people’s complaints.
“We are convinced that given the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are providing decent, safe and secure housing for those under our care.”
The disclosure comes just before Serco’s test and trace contract was renewed on August 23. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Affairs said: ‘Thanks to public and private sector organizations working together at a steady pace, we have been able to protect our NHS and strengthen our response to this unprecedented global pandemic.
“The contracts were awarded in full compliance with procurement regulations for exceptional circumstances, where the ability to procure quickly was essential in the national response to Covid-19. Minister Argar was not involved in these processes.