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The company that runs Britain
It inspects schools, trains our armed forces, helps protect our borders, maintains our nuclear weapons, runs our trains...

by Graham Ruddick

[Image: 15007.jpg]. Global Research, September 2, 2009
Telegraph - 2009-08-26

Most of the public will never have heard of Serco, a FTSE 100 company that does all of the above and more. Led by South African Chris Hyman, Serco is also making money doing it and today underlined it is proving one of the recession winners. Profits in the first six months of the year - one of the toughest the UK economy has faced for decades - jumped 33pc to £83.4m.
However, Serco's journey into the DNA of Britain's public infrastructure, like those of rival support services companies Capita and Interserve, began before the recession arrived.
All have benefited from the growing culture of outsourcing services under Labour, and Serco expects this trend to continue as the gaping hole in the public finances forces the Government to cut back.
Serco has secured a record number of contracts in 2009 so far, worth £4bn, as its revenues climbed 30pc to £1.95bn.
The deals includes a contract to design, build and operate Boris Johnson's cycle hire scheme for London and to operate two new prisons at Belmarsh in London and Maghull in Liverpool.
These come on top of Serco's existing services, which include operating London's Docklands Light Railway, running the Northern Rail and Merseyrail train networks, providing the Ministry of Defence with air surveillance and control systems, and delivering infrastructure and intelligence to the UK Border Agency.
To complete the list, Serco also has a six-year contract with Ofsted to run inspections in the Midlands at schools and further education colleges. In defence, the company is battling to win the rights to run the Army's recruitment programme and already helps to train armed forces about using Britain's fleet of aircraft, such as the Chinook and Apache helicopters.
In partnership with Lockheed Martin and Jacobs Engineering, Serco also manages the Atomic Weapons Establishment, which provides and maintains Britain's atomic warheads.
Revenues from civil government work increased 49pc in the period and a bullish Serco expects this trend to continue, giving it even more control of Britain's infrastructure. The company estimates that local authorities have endured a £4bn deficit in income for over the last two years as a result of the recession and that, by 2012 it will have revenues of £5bn.
In the results, Mr Hyman says: "The financial crisis and subsequent economic slowdown means that governments around the world are contending with increasing demand for high quality services whilst also facing a sharp deterioration in public finances. They continue to experience growing demand for quality services from their citizens.
"We believe this is also leading to a greater acceptance of innovative ways of achieving these changes, a broader range of markets to be addressed, and an increase in the size and term of change programmes in order to achieve the scale of efficiencies required.
Not surprisingly, the shares rose 4pc following the results.
Serco - The biggest uk company you have never heard of

Exclusive: Australian government contract with Serco revealed

The fol*low*ing global ex*clu*sive, writ*ten with Paul Far*rell and Marni Cordell, ap*pears today in Aus*tralian mag*a*zine New Matilda:
Today NM pub*lishes the con*tract signed be*tween the De*part*ment of Im*mi*gra*tion and Serco, ob*tained under the Free*dom of In*for*ma*tion Act
New Matilda has gained ex*clu*sive ac*cess to the first pub*licly avail*able ver*sion of the 2009 De*part*ment of Im*mi*gra*tion and Cit*i*zen*ship (DIAC) con*tract with British multi*na*tional Serco.
The con*tract was ob*tained through a Free*dom of In*for*ma*tion re*quest and re*veals the most com*pre*hen*sive in*for*ma*tion yet about the run*ning of Aus*tralian de*ten*tion cen*tres.New Matilda's analy*sis of the doc*u*ment re*veals that:
  • Gen*eral se*cu*rity guards can begin work with no for*mal se*cu*rity qual*i*fi*ca*tions and are only re*quired to ob*tain a Cer*tifi*cate II within six months of work*ing with Serco.
  • Clin*i*cal de*pres*sion, child*birth and vol*un*tary star*va*tion for under 24 hours are con*sid*ered "minor" in*ci*dents while unau*tho*rised media ac*cess is con*sid*ered "crit*i*cal".
  • Of these "minor" in*ci*dents, only 10 per cent are re*quired to be au*dited in*ter*nally by Serco.
  • There is no con*trac*tual re*quire*ment of an in*de*pen*dent audit of Serco's man*age*ment of de*ten*tion cen*tres.
The first 80 pages of the con*tract can be down*loaded here. Links to the re*main*ing sec*tions can be found at the end of this ar*ti*cle.Other is*sues of note in*clude:
  • Serco is obliged to pro*vide phone ser*vices to peo*ple in de*ten*tion but the con*tract spec*i*fies that mo*bile phone hand*sets "[must] not have a record*ing fa*cil*ity (ei*ther audio or vi*sual)".
  • Serco must also "con*trol and limit" de*tainees' in*ter*net ac*cess to pornog*ra*phy, FTP sites, and "pro*hib*ited sites in for*eign lan*guages". It is not spec*i*fied which sites are pro*hib*ited and under what law.
  • If a mem*ber of the pub*lic com*plains or pro*vides feed*back about an im*mi*gra*tion de*ten*tion cen*tre, Serco must no*tify the de*part*ment within one day and pro*vide a writ*ten re*sponse to the per*son within two weeks, "set*ting out the ac*tion taken of the rea*son why no ac*tion will be taken".
  • Serco is obliged to pro*vide "tea, cof*fee, water and bis*cuits" when de*tainees have vis*i*tors and vis*it*ing areas must con*tain "hot/cold drinks and con*fec*tionery vend*ing ma*chines".
  • Serco must "not pro*vide ac*cess to the Fa*cil*ity for media vis*its un*less the visit has been ap*proved by the De*part*ment" and must "en*sure that media per*son*nel only con*duct ac*tiv*i*ties ap*proved by the De*part*ment".
  • Serco in*dem*ni*fies DIAC from and against any loss aris*ing from or as a con*se*quence of any "death, or bod*ily in*jury, dis*ease or ill*ness (in*clud*ing men*tal ill*ness) of any per*son in*clud*ing Peo*ple in De*ten*tion" this clause sur*vives for a pe*riod of seven years fol*low*ing the ex*pi*ra*tion of the con*tract.
Ac*cord*ing to a let*ter from DIAC's FOI of*fi*cer, Serco ob*jects to DIAC's de*ci*sion to re*lease some parts of this con*tract and has ex*er*cised its rights under FOI law to block ac*cess to those sec*tions in the doc*u*ment marked "s27 con*sul*ta*tion".View the FOI of*fi*cer's de*ci*sion and a full list of the doc*u*ments that were blocked by Serco here.How*ever, New Matilda has also ob*tained a leaked copy of the con*tract in which some of these blocked sec*tions are vis*i*ble.This ver*sion of the con*tract has not been of*fi*cially re*leased, and re*veals:
  • The in*ter*nal and ex*ter*nal perime*ter of the de*ten*tion cen*tres are only re*quired to be checked by se*cu*rity guards twice a day; at the open*ing of the cen*tre and be*fore it's locked up.
  • Checks to en*sure de*tainees are "pre*sent and safe" are only re*quired to be con*ducted four times a day.
  • A car*rot and stick sys*tem of "abate*ments" and "in*cen*tives" where Serco is fined for poor per*for*mance and re*warded with higher fees for good per*for*mance
Read the leaked ver*sion of the con*tract here.The fact that this con*tract has only been re*leased now, more than two years after it was signed, re*flects how closely guarded the agree*ment be*tween Serco and the Fed*eral Gov*ern*ment re*mains.Last week, Serco's Aus*tralian CEO Bob McGui*ness told Perth Now that he was "gob*s*macked" to hear Serco de*scribed as a "se*cre*tive or*gan*i*sa*tion" in the media. "I find that as*ton*ish*ing," he said.In fact, the con*tract pro*hibits Serco em*ploy*ees from speak*ing to the media at all. It reads:"The Ser*vice Provider must not, and will en*sure that its of*fi*cers, em*ploy*ees, di*rec*tors, con*trac*tors and agents do not:
Make any pub*lic state*ment;
Re*lease any in*for*ma*tion to, make any state*ment to, deal with any in*quiry from or oth*er*wise ad*vise the media;
Pub*lish dis*trib*ute or oth*er*wise make avail*able any in*for*ma*tion or ma*te*r*ial to third par*ties."The hypocrisy of McGui*ness's com*ments is also re*mark*able in light of Serco's at*tempts to block ac*cess to in*for*ma*tion that the DIAC FOI de*ci*sion maker has ar*gued should be pub*lic.The Labor gov*ern*ment and DIAC agreed to the terms of this con*tract. By pri*vatis*ing im*mi*gra*tion de*ten*tion cen*tres, suc*ces*sive Aus*tralian gov*ern*ments have kept these is*sues out of sight and out of mind, under the pre*tence of in*for*ma*tion being "com*mer*cial-in-con*fi*dence". Bu*reau*cratic buck-pass*ing en*sures lit*tle firm in*for*ma*tion is ever re*leased.Many parts of the con*tract have still not been re*leased on the de*ci*sion of DIAC's FOI of*fi*cer in*clud*ing the names of the Serco di*rec*tors who man*age re*la*tions with DIAC and run de*ten*tion cen*tres.Read NM's ex*tended cov*er*age of the con*tract here and here.Links to Serco con*tract (FOI ver*sion)Vol*ume 1, Part 1Vol*ume 1, Part 2Vol*ume 1, Part 3Vol*ume 1, Part 4Vol*ume 1, Part 5Vol*ume 1, Part 6Vol*ume 1, Part 7Vol*ume 2, Part 1Vol*ume 2, Part 2Vol*ume 2, Part 3Vol*ume 2, Part 4Vol*ume 2, Part 5[URL=""]Vol*ume 2, Part 6


Revealing the reality of privatised Serco "care" in Australia

Back in late 2011, jour*nal*ist Paul Far*rell and yours truly re*leased in New Matilda, via Free*dom of In*for*ma*tion, the se*cret con*tract be*tween the Aus*tralian gov*ern*ment and Serco with the de*tails of im*pris*on*ing asy*lum seek*ers in Aus*tralia. It showed the lack of train*ing re*quired by Serco staff when work*ing around vul*ner*a*ble refugees. Both par*ties im*posed a regime that re*minded one of a max*i*mum se*cu*rity prison. When I vis*ited Christ*mas Is*land and Curtin de*ten*tion cen*tres last year I saw ev*i*dence of this men*tal*ity in prac*tice.Now Crikey has re*leased an*other doc*u*ment that also paints Serco in a ter*ri*ble light:
A prison-style train*ing man*ual pro*duced by the com*pany con*tracted to run Aus*tralia's de*ten*tion cen*tres con*tains ex*plicit in*struc*tions on how to "hit" and "strike" asy*lum seek*ers.The 400-page, il*lus*trated 2010 and 2009 Serco in*duc*tion train*ing doc*u*ments, ob*tained by Crikey, shows how prison staff are trained to kick, punch and jab their fin*gers into de*tainee limbs and "pres*sure points" to ren*der them mo*tion*less.Serco, which has a $1 bil*lion con*tract with the Gillard gov*ern*ment to run nine asy*lum out*posts, has re*peat*edly fought the re*lease of sim*i*lar doc*u*ments, claim*ing other ver*sions are not in the "pub*lic in*ter*est" and could cause com*mo*tion in*side lock*ups. (Read the full man*ual here).The "con*trol and re*straint" tech*niques in*cluded in the 2009 train*ing course man*ual rec*om*mends the use of "pain" to de*fend, sub*due and con*trol asy*lum seek*ers through straight punches, palm heel strikes, side angle kicks, front thrust kicks and knee strikes."Sub*due the sub*ject using rea*son*able force so that he/she is no longer in the as*sailant cat*e*gory," it ex*plains."If jus*ti*fied, nec*es*sary force is to be used to bring the sub*ject to co*op*er*a*tive sub*jec*tive sta*tus where*upon they re*spond favourably to ver*bal*i*sa*tion."Under a sec*tion headed "prin*ci*ples in con*trol*ling Re*sis*tive Be*hav*iour", guards are told to cause pain, stun, dis*tract, un*bal*ance and use "strik*ing tech*nique" to cause "motor dys*func*tion".Guards are told to tar*get spe*cific "pres*sure points" in the man*ner of riot squad po*lice to squeeze nerves as " a valu*able sub*ject con*trol op*tion"."They en*hance your abil*ity, to com*pel com*pli*ance from unco-op*er*a*tive sub*jects," it ex*plains. The "ex*pected ef*fect" is "medium to high level pain".In one in*stance, guards, re*ferred to by the gov*ern*ment and Serco as "Client Ser*vices Of*fi*cers", are taught to at*tack de*tainees' jugu*lars to cause them to fall over.In an*other, they are told to em*ploy a "down*ward kick" to the "lower shin" to cause "high level of pain and men*tal stun*ning" last*ing up to seven sec*onds.Ba*tons are a use*ful weapon for guards to cause "medium to high ten*sity [sic] pain" and "fore*arm mus*cle cramp*ing". "Strikes should be de*liv*ered by a ham*mer fist," it says.Un*der*pin*ning the kick*ing and punch*ing and baton in*struc*tions is "two forms of strikes". The "cut*ting strike" using a baton, "im*pacts" the de*tainee, "con*tin*u*ing through in one fluid mo*tion … this could be equated to fol*low*ing through when swing*ing a bat".The Fluid Shock Wave prin*ci*ple is em*ployed to "…gen*er*ate op*ti*mum fluid shock with a hand, baton or knee".
Of course the Fed*eral Labor gov*ern*ment is em*bar*rassed that its dirty lit*tle se*cret is out and sim*ply claims things have changed:
A 2010 Serco train*ing man*ual de*tail*ing the force to be used by staff on hos*tile de*tainees is no longer rel*e*vant be*cause it has been su*per*seded by other man*u*als, Min*is*ter for Im*mi*gra*tion and Cit*i*zen*ship Chris Bowen says.The man*ual which was yes*ter*day leaked on*line by Crikey had chap*ters that ex*plic*itly out*lined how staff could use pain as a means of re*strain*ing and con*trol*ling ag*gres*sive de*tainees, in*clud*ing the in*flic*tion of straight punches, palm heel strikes, side angle kicks, front thrust kicks and knee strikes.Mr Bowen said the man*ual was no longer in use "and does not re*flect very clear guide*lines agreed to by Serco and the De*part*ment of Im*mi*gra*tion on en*gage*ment with peo*ple in de*ten*tion fa*cil*i*ties"."I am ad*vised that the 2010 man*ual con*tained er*rors and has been su*per*seded by other man*u*als, most re*cently the 2012 train*ing guide," he said."Any use of force or re*straint in any de*ten*tion en*vi*ron*ment is used strictly as a last re*sort."The the*ory be*hind the strikes was to "cre*ate tem*po*rary motor dys*func*tion" and "tem*po*rary mus*cle im*pair*ment" through the "fluid shock wave" that gets sent around de*tainees' bod*ies, but only leaves bruis*ing, the man*ual ex*plained.It also sug*gested that to "gen*er*ate op*ti*mal fluid shock with a hand or baton" it was best to put a per*son's whole body weight be*hind the strike.Mr Bowen said Serco staff in im*mi*gra*tion de*ten*tion fa*cil*i*ties did not carry weapons and the man*ual con*tained er*rors.But a spokesman for Serco re*vealed that ba*tons were pre*sent at the de*ten*tion fa*cil*i*ties and could be used de*fen*sively by "a very lim*ited num*ber of spe*cially trained staff, along with other per*sonal pro*tec*tive equip*ment".
Today Crikey fol*lows up the story and shows that se*crecy is how this gov*ern*ment op*er*ates and Serco is happy to as*sist:
Im*mi*gra*tion Min*is*ter Chris Bowen re*sponded to Crikey's pub*li*ca*tion of the 2009 and 2010 Serco train*ing man*ual call*ing the man*ual "out-dated" and "no-longer in use". Yet Bowen, the Im*mi*gra*tion De*part*ment and Serco have re*fused to de*tail how the British-owned multi*na*tional has al*tered or up*dated it.A spokesper*son for Bowen told Crikey this morn*ing the Min*is*ter would not be "dis*cussing fur*ther the con*tents of the cur*rent man*ual for mat*ters of op*er*a*tional se*cu*rity".When asked how many Serco guards trained in com*bat tech*niques to hit, strike and jab asy*lum seek*ers re*main em*ployed in the de*ten*tion sys*tem, a Serco spokesper*son re*sponded that "staff re*ceive re*fresher train*ing at least an*nu*ally, based on the most re*cent train*ing ma*te*ri*als".Serco didn't ex*plain what has been al*tered or up*dated in its in*duc*tion doc*u*ments, de*spite De*part*ment spokesper*son Sandi Logan as*sert*ing there has been "at least four it*er*a*tions" of the Serco train*ing man*ual since 2009-10, in*clud*ing a 2012 ver*sion.