Privatising court fines collection costs £14m - and no money has been collected

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The Ministry of Justice will have spent nearly �14m on the heavily delayed privatisation of court fine collection, before the US firm it has asked to become its in-house bailiff has chased a single debtor

To reduce the level of outstanding court fines, the Government has been planning for several years to hire a company to do the job. Uncollected fines stood at around �2bn Personalized Silicone Bracelet when the competition to find a bailiff was launched in 201

However, the MoJ only selected its preferred bidder, Concentrix, this summer and a final contract has not been signed. Concentrix beat BT and French IT group Atos to the �675m deal, but is a controversial choice given criticisms of its performance on an HM Revenue & Customs contract to root out fraud and err

Earlier this year, Concentrix, a Belfast-based firm owned by the US conglomerate Synnex, was accused of sending threatening letters to people on low incomes, claiming they had cheated on their tax credits. Synnex said it was acting within HMRC guidelines, but critics said this had been a �fishing expediti


In a parliamentary answer to a question from Jo Stevens, the Labour MP for Cardiff North, the justice minister, Andrew Selous, revealed �the project spend forecast for 2015-16 is �6.1m�. A recent Freedom of Information request by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union found that �7.8m had been spent on the privatisation


.


Mark Serwotka, the PCS general secretary, said: �These eye-watering sums reveal the costs of privatisation before any contract has even rubber band bracelets Custom Silicon Bracelets been signed, and it should not have taken FoI and parliamentary questions to uncover them.� Read more: Gove's MoJ cuts 'could see more children
ailed' Gove's MoJ promotion threatens to reignite personali

lash

Gove spotted with a guide on how to bring discipline to
risons The PCS has been campaigning against the sell-off of court fine collections, arguing that the HM Courts and Tribunals Service has improved collection rates �in the face of budget cuts, and consistently outperformed private debt col

ors�.

Trade unionists are also worried that sensitive information held by the courts, such as addresses, will have to be passed to the bailiffs for them to do their job
operly. A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: �We collect income for all fines, penalties and orders imposed by a criminal courts. The project is a complex one and HM Courts and Tribunals Service has been particularly careful to follow a robust and comprehensive procurement and approvals process, which is

oing.

The costs incurred to date reflect the complexity of the project and the subsequent procurement p
cess.�

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