Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has begun a judicial review challenge aimed at G4S, the controversial private company that runs two of the UK’s immigration detention centres. The charity aims to have G4S officially branded a “High Risk” supplier by the government in an effort to hold the outsourcing giant to account over conditions at its facilities.
Last year’s BBC Panorama revelations of detainees being abused at G4S-run Brook House were, BID says, “the latest in a long line of allegations involving G4S in the running of detention facilities”. As well as operating Brook House and Tinsley House on behalf of the government, G4S has contracts to provide pre-departure and asylum accommodation, the quality of which has also been criticised.
Government policy is that major supplier can be designated “High Risk” if in financial distress, or where
it is considered to have seriously and/or persistently under-performed on one or more contracts with Government and its under-performance has not been resolved in the course of “business-as-usual” contract management.
Solicitors Leigh Day sent a pre-action protocol letter yesterday. It charges that “the conscious decision not to designate G4S as a High Risk supplier… is contrary to the Cabinet Office’s published policy, irrational and unlawful”.
BID’s Director, Celia Clarke, says that “is time the government stopped rewarding a company with a record of failure and mistreatment”, claiming that the High Risk designation “will make it harder for the government to award G4S future contracts and, ultimately, help prevent the future maltreatment of detainees”. Success would also mean that “G4S’s existing contracts with the government will be subject to closer monitoring and review”, according to Benjamin Burrows of Leigh Day.
The charity is seeking a protective costs order and has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise funds for the action.