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Call for police outsourcing to be brought back in house after Carillion collapse

Biggest policing PFI contracts use firm to maintain and operate buildings

The union representing Metropolitan Police staff has called for all public sector contracts to be taken back in house after the collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion.

Both of the force’s private finance initiative (PFI) contracts, which cost the taxpayer a combined total of more than £30 million per year, are serviced by the giant.

They are the biggest PFI schemes in UK policing - though smaller than many other contracts held by the company which is to go into liquidation.

The Gravesend training centre and four south east London buildings are maintained by the construction firm, as are around half the prisons in the UK.

Carillion is in charge of maintenance of police sites in Bromley, Deptford, Lewisham and Sutton, which house borough facilities and some specialist operations.

The firm provides criminal exhibit services, typist services, some custody services and facilities management at the sites.

Across the country the company also provides facilities management at numerous prisons.

The government says it will "provide the necessary funding" to maintain public services and told workers to turn up as usual, assuring them they will be paid.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said: "For clarity - all employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid. Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do.”

While Carillion is set to continue operating "until further notice", its pending liquidation puts an unclear number of its 20,000 UK jobs as well as international staff at risk.

Unions have called for urgent reassurances over the jobs, pay and pensions of thousands of workers.

Brian Shaw, from the Met Police’s PCS branch, also called for end of privatisation of public services.

“We’ve written to the force saying we want the services brought back in house," he told Police Oracle.

“We also need clarity about what’s happening with the buildings: are they going to be sold off?

“We’ve seen the government assurance about the people employed, but there’s no further clarity coming forward.”

He added: “What we’ve said all along is privatisation is not effective for running services.”

A Met Police spokesman said: "With the news that Carillion has entered into liquidation the Metropolitan Police Service has contingency plans in place to ensure service delivery is maintained as per the contracts.

"Staff employed at all of these sites will continue to be paid and are rostered to work into the foreseeable future. 

"The situation will be closely monitored whilst Carillion’s liquidators better understand the company and its options."

Overseas contracts previously won by the firm include forensic services in Toronto, Canada.