Public Accounts Committee

Offender-monitoring tags inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine Offender-monitoring tags on Monday 13 November 2017.

Scope of the inquiry

Electronic monitoring of prisoners—known informally as 'tagging'—plays an important role in supporting prisoner rehabilitation in the community. In 2011 the Ministry of Justice launched a programme to develop a new, world-leading tag that would incorporate GPS technology.

However, a National Audit Office report found that developing the tags has been beset with problems and cost increases as a result of high-risk approach and weak governance. The Ministry planned to procure parts of the service from four providers, with a fifth provider integrating all the parts but contracts for procurement were signed two years later than planned.

G4S has now been appointed to complete the work by mid-2019, a total delay of five years. The programme intended to save between £9 million and £30 million, but instead the Ministry has spent an additional £60 million. The tagging service is expected to cost £470 million between 2017 and 2025.

The Committee will ask the Ministry of Justice about its attitude to risk, why it contracted the project in the manner they did and why that went wrong, and what it is doing to assure the success of the tagging programme in the years ahead.


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