Road to perdition

Greedy pigs

Three South Wales Valleys councils (Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil) have recently struck a £75 million deal to manage road and other civil engineering projects with Capita, one of the UK’s most notorious outsourcing companies. Graham Cogswell, Crapita’s managing director said:

“We have a proven track record of improving services and job creation through local authority partnerships across the UK and Wales in particular.”

Improving services? We wonder what planet Mr Cogswell has been on for the last decade. Despite winning contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds of our money, Crapita and its vast network of subsidiaries are bywords for incompetence and, in some cases, corruption. They’ve botched staff administration services at Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust and the BBC where staff details were lost. Crapita was awarded the contract to run Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs), the government adult skills policy, which collapsed after fraudulent claims resulted in a £60 million overspend. In 2002 the company failed to provide adequate computer systems to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) causing lengthy delays in the provision of police checks for people wanting to work with children. And to cap it all, Capita Financial Administration was fined £300,000 in 2004 by the Financial Services Authority after some of its staff helped to defraud customers.

So why does Crapita carry on winning lucrative government contracts? Could it possibly be because its former chairman, Rod Aldridge, made a secret loan of £1 million to Crapita’s New Labour pay masters before the last elections?

Clearly councillors in RCT, Merthyr and Bridgend have every confidence in the new partnership. South Wales Anarchists, however, do not and we deplore the way public services are being hived off to private sector cowboys. Watch out for the pot holes!

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