The news slipped through. The Telegraph reported it briefly, the BBC website more fully. But, apart from Paul Lewis on Twitter, no one else has noticed, or thinks it's important. G4S can again bid for government contracts. Yes, after bodging contracts and then, along with Serco, defrauding the government over the tagging contract to the tune of £109m, the company was temporarily barred from bidding for its slice of public money. But now, "The Cabinet Office said G4S had taken steps to address weakness in its operations and its 'corporate renewal plan represented the right direction of travel to meet our expectations as a customer'." And this comes while the Serious Fraud Office is still investigating. So keen is the government to get G4S back into the fold that they are not even waiting for the outcome of that.
What's the urgency? Well, there were those prisons which Grayling wanted to privatise but couldn't because Serco and G4S, the only bidders, had been banished. And there are more contracts coming up. We still haven't heard who the providers are to be for Community Work Placements. And another nice little earner is up for grabs, barely noticed. This is the Health and Work Service (HWS), contracts to "intervene" in the lives of people who are off work sick and get them back to work. Read about it here. It won't be payment by results, and it needs the consent of employees. One can expect the usual suspects, including A4e and, of course, G4S, to be bidding.
It makes no sense at all to people outside the weird world of government procurement and outsourcing that providers which have failed to deliver and have ripped you off should be welcome to bid again. The Public Accounts Committee was astonished that previous performance couldn't be taken into account.