Britain’s largest union, Unite accused government ministers of ‘staggering complacency’ and called for an investigation following today’s (Thursday 21 June) urgent question in the House of Commons on the awarding of a contract to Capita to run the UK military fire and rescue services.
The urgent question followed reports in the Financial Times that Capita had been awarded the multi-million 12 year contract by the Ministry of Defence despite a financial health assessment attaching the highest possible risk rating to the outsourcing company.
Capita scored 10 out of 10 for risk in a document prepared for the MoD. One indicates the lowest probability of distress and 10 the highest. As part of the risk assessment Capita was also awarded a ‘health score’ of just three out of 100. A score of 25 or less is deemed to be in a red ‘warning area’ of heightened vulnerability.
Commenting Unite national officer Jim Kennedy said: “The complacency displayed by government ministers is simply staggering. There needs to be an investigation into how Capita can be awarded such a sensitive and important contract despite being graded the highest financial risk possible in the government’s own assessment.
“The award of this contact risks our defence and points to a government that is willing carry on with the outsourcing racket at all costs. Ministers need to learn the lessons of the Carillion collapse and call time on the outsourcing gravy train that puts our public services at risk.”
Capita beat Serco to be awarded the contract. Capita has been forced to borrow over £700 million after racking up losses of £513 million last year.
MoD firefighters and defence workers are employed in both civilian and military roles and are responsible for ensuring the safety of military bases both in the UK and abroad. There are between 1,500–2,000 workers affected by this decision. The workers also have to protect military equipment in war zones.
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.