Hold G4S to Account

by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)

Hold G4S to Account

by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)
We challenge immigration detention in the UK through the provision of legal advice and representation to people held in detention alongside research, policy advocacy and strategic litigation.
Funded
on 06th March 2018
£12,190
pledged by 389 people
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)
We challenge immigration detention in the UK through the provision of legal advice and representation to people held in detention alongside research, policy advocacy and strategic litigation.

Latest: March 28, 2018

Response received from the Government's lawyers

The Government’s lawyers have responded to our “Letter Before Claim” (LBC) saying that they will contest the whole of the claim. They have said that the Government’s policy ...

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We need your support to bring a legal challenge forcing the Government to designate G4S a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier in the wake of a number of catastrophic failings. While detention still exists we want to do everything we can to prevent ill-treatment in the future. If you do too, please support us to bring this legal challenge.



What is the case?

The Panorama programme Undercover: Britain's Immigration Secrets, which was broadcast by the BBC late last year, exposed serious failings of G4S, the private security company responsible for running Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). These failings included the maltreatment of detainees by staff, a widespread culture of disrespect and the falsification of incident reports in order to cover up their conduct.

“G4S said nine staff had been suspended in the latest scandal to hit the controversial firm” (The Guardian, 2017)

G4S is designated a ‘Strategic Supplier’ by the Cabinet Office. This means it holds contracts across a number of Government departments with revenue exceeding £100 million a year. G4S is currently contracted by the Government to operate two immigration removal centres, five prisons and one secure training centre.

Panorama’s recent revelations regarding Brook House IRC are just the latest in a long line of such revelations involving G4S’s misconduct in the running of custodial facilities in the United Kingdom. In the last three years alone, there have been serious and repeated allegations of maltreatment by staff in various custodial settings they run, as well as allegations of financial impropriety on behalf of the company itself.


These must now be seen as systemic failings, not just one-off incidents. However there appears to be no recognition of this at government level. Indeed, despite the revelations of the Panorama programme, the Government is seemingly poised to award G4S a renewed contract to run Brook House IRC.

Under Government policy, a ‘Strategic Supplier’ can be designated ‘High Risk’ if there is evidence of repeated concerns regarding under performance and mismanagement in the delivery of the services they are contracted to provide.  However, the Cabinet Office refuses to confirm if G4S has been designated as ‘High Risk’ in line with that policy.

“Last week G4S lost control of HMP Birmingham, resulting the most serious prison riots since Strangeways in 1990.” (The Guardian, 2016)

What are we trying to do?

We want to bring a legal challenge against the Government for appearing to have failed to designate G4S a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier.

Why it is so important?

A ‘High Risk’ designation would have far-reaching consequences for G4S. It would mean that G4S’s existing contracts with the Government would be subject to closer monitoring and review. It would also make it harder for the Government to award G4S contracts in the future.

While detention still exists we want to do everything we can to prevent such ill-treatment in the future.  This would be an important means of holding G4S to account, sending out a message that it cannot allow those in its custody to be ill-treated without serious repercussions.

“At least six members of staff have been dismissed at a privately run young offenders facility after a series of incidents of gross misconduct, including by some in leadership positions.”(The Guardian, 2015)

How can you help?

We have sent a pre-action letter of claim to the Government and are awaiting their response. We will need your help to bring this legal challenge. We will apply to the court to limit our costs of the legal challenge to a fixed figure, but as a charity, we would still have to raise money to meet that figure as we do not have sufficient resources of our own. Without this help, we will simply not be able to bring this important legal challenge.



References

'Britain's Immigration Secrets', (2017), Panorama, BBC One Television, 4 September. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b094mhsn (Accessed: 12 February 2018.

Weaver, M. (2017) ‘G4S staff suspended from Brook House immigration centre over abuse claims’, The Guardian, 1 September [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/01/g4s-staff-suspended-brook-house-immigration-centre-claims-abuse (Accessed: 12 February 2018).

Hattenstone, S. and Allison, E. (2016), G4S should be a failed company by now. But the government won’t allow it’, The Guardian, 23 December [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/23/g4s-prisons-contracts-hmp-birmingham (Accessed: 12 February 2018)

Travis, A. (2015) G4S-run youth jail criticised over degrading treatment of detainees’, The Guardian, 20 May [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/20/misconduct-youth-jail-rainsbrook-ofsted-g4s (Accessed: 12 February 2018)





















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Update 2

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)

March 28, 2018

Response received from the Government's lawyers

The Government’s lawyers have responded to our “Letter Before Claim” (LBC) saying that they will contest the whole of the claim. They have said that the Government’s policy allowing them to designate strategic suppliers “high risk” is an aspect of their commercial functions with an insufficient public law element to it, and thus not amenable to judicial review. In addition they have said they are not required to confirm if and what action they are taking in respect of G4S contracts generally. They have also said that BID does not have “standing” to bring the case as our concern is with the issues that arose in Brook House only, not the general performance of G4S’s contracts.

We believe that the Government has fundamentally misunderstood its own policy and our concerns about their application of that policy. The policy makes clear that when considering whether to designate a supplier “high risk”, the Government will have regard to the delivery of public services and that serious and repeated failings in the delivery of these services are bad for the taxpayer. This is not therefore a purely commercial relationship and there is a clear public interest in the policy being applied.

As regards BID’s standing, the LBC made clear our concerns about G4S’s repeated and systemic failings. We therefore have an interest in G4S’s performance of its contracts and our concerns are not restricted only to the events in Brook House IRC.

In the light of the Government’s response, we have sent a further letter to them asking them again to clarify if and what steps they are taking with respect to our concerns. We will review any further response we receive and then update you further.

Update 1

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)

March 7, 2018

Thank you!

A massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who has pledged.  Thanks to you we have hit our ‘all-or-nothing’ target of £11,000. This means we are able to bring our important legal challenge by applying to the court to limit our costs. We simply could not have done this without your support! Together we can hold G4S to account.

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