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19 June 2005

RELIANCE CONTRACT MORE EXPENSIVE THAN PUBLIC SECTOR

Shadow Deputy Justice Minister Stewart Stevenson MSP today demanded that Scottish Executive Ministers account for their contract with Reliance Custodial Services following reports that the deal struck with the private company may end up costing more than the previous publicly run service.

Professor Sheila Bird of the Royal Statistical Society has revealed that the cost of the Reliance prisoner escort contract could rise to as much as £150 million as a result of her analysis of the current performance and payments being made to Reliance. Should Reliance succeed in improving their performance to that previously achieved by the public
sector, payments to them will also rise to the point where the cost exceeds the previous public sector cost.

Speaking today [Sunday], the Mr Stevenson said,

"We knew from the start that the Reliance contract was bungled. Now Professor Bird has calculated that after a run of escapes and unauthorised releases this arrangement may now cost the public purse even more than the previous arrangements.

"In addition to this news, there is further evidence of trouble in the management of Reliance.

“Companies House records reveal six resignations from the board of Reliance Secure Task Management Ltd since they were awarded the contract from the Scottish Prison Service. Three of these were as recently as 18th May. With a board of only seven, this suggests a company in crisis.

"Ministers must now account for this financial and organisational chaos to Parliament."
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