Back in 2014, the government awarded a series of outsourcing contracts to 21 ‘community rehabilitation companies’ (CRCs), designed to shift a large part of the public probation service into the private sector.
Rather than honour earlier pledges to the unions that in such a case the government would step in with remedial contingency plans, the government stood by and watched as the companies, whose remit covered the south west and Wales, failed to meet targets.
Worse, when the full scope of the company’s failure became apparent, rather than take responsibility for clearing up the mess itself, the government hired another bunch of cowboys, going by the collective name of Seetec, to stick their snouts into the trough.
The 21 contracts are due to expire at the end of 2020, and if the government gave a damn about preserving continuity and high standards in the work of the probation service it would seize this obvious chance to abandon the failed privatisation racket and take the service back into the public sector.
Needless to say, it plans instead to replace the existing 21 CRCs with 10 larger ones, thereby extending the nightmare for a further term. (Government must end private contracts before it’s too late, Unison, 25 February 2019)