The Rt Hon David Gauke MP
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
102 Petty France
Dear Mr Gauke,
I am writing to you with concern over the proposed privatisation of your department’s enforcement work. I am aware that ministers in the justice department will decide this month whether to approve the next step in completing the outsourcing of this work.
Civilian enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing the orders of criminal courts – serving warrants or arresting people. They do this as public servants fully accountable for the work they do. They are not driven by profit.
Currently, enforcement work is carried out in a mixed economy – a number of small and large contracts have been let over the years to a number of different companies. PCS represents enforcement officers and we believe that all this work should be done in house. Without existing in-house civilian enforcement officers there would be no public sector guarantee of service for any failings in the private sector.
There have been numerous reports into the failure of MoJ and its contractors – tagging is one. Less well known are criticisms made by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons about the safety of detainees in courts and escort vehicles for example the transfer of men, women and children in the same vehicles. These failures cast significant doubt on the ability of MoJ to ensure that such contracts are operated in accordance with its obligations in British and international law.
A decision to transfer vital and sensitive enforcement work to the private sector to companies who will drive down costs in order to make a profit will, we believe, result in a deterioration in the service our members offer.
At this late stage we call upon you to stop the sell-off of this vital public service and arrange for discussions with unions about how to improve the enforcement service, making it fit for the new age we live in.
PCS General Secretary