I always thought Monsatan held that title, but I could be wrong.
One thing this company could do is to handle incoming immigrant 'children'...
What if I told you there exists a multinational corporation with 40+ subsidiary companies across the globe which services a vast array of governmental agencies? And what if I told you this very same corporation has been involved in scandal after scandal, ranging from overcharging governments for electronically tagged inmates, to falsifying billing documents, to mismanaging vital patient information, to drug smuggling enterprises found within their facilities, and finally sexual abuse and terrible living conditions in their immigration/refugee centers? What if I also told you that this same company is protected under “commercial confidentiality” and the details of its inner workings are not open to Freedom of Information requests?
You’d probably ask me, “What is this corporation you speak of?”
Well, this corporation’s name is Serco, and it’s the biggest company you’ve never heard of.
…it [Serco] stands accused of mismanagement, lying and even charging for non-existent work.
Three weeks ago, there came grimmer news. Thanks to its contracts for tagging offenders, the company was now the focus of panic at the Ministry of Justice, where it had been discovered that it was one of two contractors that had somehow overcharged the government for its services, possibly by as much as £50m; there were suggestions that one in six of the tags that the state had paid for did not actually exist.
And this little gem:
Amazingly, its contracts with government are subject to what’s known as “commercial confidentiality” and as a private firm it’s not open to Freedom of Information requests, so looking into the details of what it does is fraught with difficulty.
What? WHAT? If this isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is! You realize that this company isn’t just in the UK and Australia and other places around the world. It’s also in the United States, running amok. More about that later.
Serco also had a think tank called The Serco Institute, and while it is now defunct, it put out a variety of reports about the advantages of outsourcing key public services to the private market (like themselves), and that “those responsible for the delivery of public services should be placed at the heart of decisions about the design and construction of the supporting infrastructure.”
I mean, it sounds reasonable enough, right? Well, it’s more corporatism on top of more corporatism. Laying the foundations of lawmaking in their own favor.
Let’s Get Into Serco’s Vast Array of Services
Serco has an icebreaker ship Design, Build, Operation and Maintenance (DBOM) contract with Australia for expeditions to Antarctica.
They provide electronic tagging of offenders and asylum seekers in UK’s Ministry of Justice.
It operates the National Border Targeting Center for UK Visas and Immigration. It runs four prisons, a Young Offenders Institution and a Secure Training Centre. It operates two Immigration Removal Centers, including Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedforshire. Remember that name for later.
The group also operates the Santander Cycles scheme in London, and the NorthLink Ferries Northern Isles lifeline ferry service in Scotland. Serco also has a joint venture in which it operates passenger trains in the UK and with the Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen. Serco also has its fingers in the Caledonian Sleeper between London and Scotland, Merseyrail in Liverpool, the Northern Rail franchise, and also operates speed camera systems throughout the UK and until 2013 the group designed wrote and tested software that controls message signs, traffic signals and emergency roadside phones. They also participated in traffic monitoring on England’s motorway network and the National Traffic Control Centre.
Serco also holds contracts for the maintenance of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales, and also for operation and maintenance of RAF Brize Norton, RAF Halton, RAF Northholt, and RNAS Culdrose. Serco also manages many aspects of the Defence College of Management and Technology in Shrivenham.
They maintain and operate air traffic towers in the United States, Canada, and United Arab Emirates. Serco managed airports in Iraq during the United States occupation.
Serco also provides facilities management services and housekeeping at several hospitals in the UK. They also held contracts for out-of-hours general practitioner services in Cornwall until 2013.
The group also held a ten-year contract with Bradford City Council from 2001-2011 to manage and operate the local education authority, providing education support services to the City’s schools.
Serco also handles Drivers’ licensing in Ontario, parking meter servicing for the City of Chicago, and parking enforcement for Inglewood, California.
In 2013 Serco was awarded a $1.25 billion contract to manage the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Science – Serco managed the UK’s National Physical Laboratory until 2015. It also provides IT services and cryogenic maintenance at CERN.
Some other facts about Serco’s services:
They manage and can set Greenwich Mean Time/ZULU.
Serco has 47 staff in Antarctica. What are they doing? I don’t know!
Department of Defense, Navy Space and
Naval Warfare Systems Command – http://www.serco-na.com/news/press-releases/detail/3064/serco-wins-64-million-spawar-contract-to-assist-navy-with
youth prison in Western Australia https://newmatilda.com/2011/12/15/serco-run-youth-prison/
Possible ICE connection https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/19/serco-immigration-detention-centers-united-states
Christmas Island migrant detention center that was condemned by Australia’s top human rights official” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/04/ihms-and-serco-likely-to-retain-onshore-detention-centre-contracts
Overcharged taxpayers for tagging prisoners in GB (G4S, a rival company, was also implicated resulting in the two companies repaying nearly 180 BP) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/19/offender-electronic-tagging-serco-repay-68m-overcharging in which they were charging the government for tracking dead prisoners
The Serious Fraud Office investigation into the tagging contract continues.
Prisoner transport fraud: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/aug/28/police-serco-alleged-fraud
Serco giving NHS false data in a Healthcare contract: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/sep/20/serco-nhs-false-data-gps
Failure to provide decent accommodation for vulnerable asylum seekers
Yarl’s Wood Serco asylum seekers detained, staff accused of sexual abuse
Australia. Serco had to make the patrol boats available for a total of 3,600 operating days a year. If they broke down, it was Serco’s problem. In the early years, the Armidales made money for Serco, but from 2008 onwards, Australia faced a sudden increase in asylum seekers attempting to reach the country by sea. Between 2007 and 2012, the numbers leapt from 148 to more than 17,000, and the Armidales were the navy’s chosen means to intercept the migrants’ fragile boats as they approached the coast. The patrol boats were driven harder and faster than ever before. They developed corrosion and cracking in their hulls. Amazingly, for several years, Serco was able to offset any losses from the patrol boats because it also had the contracts to detain the asylum seekers in immigration camps once they landed in Australia. For this work, it was paid on a volume basis – per asylum seeker. The surge in refugees made these contracts the most profitable in Serco’s entire global portfolio, bringing in £450m in 2013.
SERCO is part of the current FEMA Public Assistance Contract (PATAC IV) within DHS to provide support (along with two other Prime Contractors) for declared disasters and managed within codified regulations concerning the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This firm (SERCO) although not having performed under this contract before was able to successfully dislodge a previous Prime Contractor (AECOM).