Last week I speculated about the future of outsourcing, and pointed out some of its perils. Now comes vindication with the story of G4S and Serco having overcharged the government massively on their contracts to tag offenders. Because G4S is apparently not co-operating fully with the government's investigation, Chris Grayling is calling in the cops. With new contracts in the pipeline, Serco have said they won't bid for them - but Capita plans to do so. Unless a foreign company throws its hat in the ring, that's it. There are no other companies in a position to bid.
We learned today that, between them, Serco and G4S get £1.5 billion a year from the may contracts like this that they have. And in total outsourcing is worth more than £80 billion a year. That's our money. Some are now putting the blame for messes like the tagging contracts on the poor skills of those civil servants who are supposed to manage and monitor them. Well, maybe, but that's inevitable. They are hugely outgunned by the companies.