Serco is a corrupt company with a well established history of fraud. It repeatedly falsifies performance data in order to meet its contracts with Governments.
Two days ago I posted this blog: How Serco pulled the wool over Corrections and Mt Eden was rated as ‘exceptional’. It pointed out that Serco appeared to be under-reporting the number of serious assaults at the Mt Eden prison leaving prisoners to suffer instead of taking them to hospital.
The article mentions that in 2013, Serco was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office after they were found to have overcharged the British Government for the monitoring of offenders in the community who were subsequently found to be dead, back in prison or overseas.
It seems Serco also has a history of manipulating data in its contracts with the British National Health Service. See the following articles from the Guardian. I have provided the main points from each.
The Guardian 25 May 2012: Serco investigated over claims of ‘unsafe’ out-of-hours GP service
“Serco, which runs a large range of outsourced services for the government and local authorities, was subject to an unannounced inspection by NHS watchdogs in Cornwall last month in response to whistleblowers who claim that it:
- allowed queues of up to 90 patients at a time to build up at its telephone helpline;
- met its targets, in part, by adjusting figures to blame delays on patients;
- repeatedly took visiting doctors off roving duties in order to operate clinics and hotlines because it had too few staff on duty to cover the county.
Correspondence seen by the Guardian reveals that senior clinicians have repeatedly expressed concern to Serco management about staff shortages jeopardising the safety of the service.”
The Guardian 7 March 2013: Private contractor fiddled data when reporting to NHS, says watchdog
“Serco, the leading private contractor of government services, falsified performance figures 252 times when reporting to the NHS on targets it had failed to meet, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). The independent watchdog’s investigation into Serco’s out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall comes after the Guardian revealed last May that whistleblowers had concerns that the privatised service was regularly so short-staffed as to be unsafe and that its performance data was being manipulated.”
The Guardian 23 April 2013: Who will hold NHS contractors like Serco to account?
“The powerful parliamentary public accounts committee summoned Serco and the NHS body responsible for commissioning them, the Cornwall primary care trust, and gave them the roasting they deserved for a culture of “lying and cheating” and for “shocking” inadequacies in writing and monitoring the contract.
Neither Serco’s company systems nor the trust’s audits had managed to find the repeated shortages of staffing and falsifying of performance data that whistleblowers said had been putting patients at risk as far back as 2010. But then, as the committee’s formidable chair, former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, said, ‘they didn’t seem to want to look in the right place’.”
This is almost exactly what I said about the Corrections monitors in Mt Eden prison: “The monitors are incentivised to look the other way.”