Pressure has been building against government plans to outsource the enforcement of court fines to US multinational Concentrix, a company with a controversial track record of carrying out government contracts. Concentrix is the only company the government is considering for the £67m contract to collect court fines, a tendering process which is occuring despite court staff having improved collection rates year on year over the last 5 years.
Beyond there being a total lack of evidence for the privatisation and only one company under consideration for the contract, concern has also been raised about Concentrix’s past record in carrying out government work. HM Revenue and Customs hired Concentrix in 2014 to carry out its fraud and error detection work, since then the Citizens Advice Bureau have reported a 20 per cent rise in people seeking help with tax credits, while the Single Parent Action Network have accused Concentrix of victimising parents on behalf of HMRC.
PCS has been campaigning against the privatisation of court fines, joined by the Howard League for Penal Reform, whose director has written to the President of Concentrix, urging him to consider withdrawing from the process. The letter has been posted on the Howard League website.
The issue has received national press coverage recently, with articles in the Independent:
Friday 11 September: http://ind.pn/1OynmaO
Sunday 13 September: http://ind.pn/1NRbRK7
PCS has also written an informative blog about the issue over at We Own It: http://weownit.org.uk/blog/privatisation-threat-justice