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Outsourcing: Quality of Service

Volume 652: debated on Monday 14 January 2019

3. What recent assessment he has made of the quality of service delivered through contracts outsourced by his Department. (908523)

The Ministry of Defence regularly monitors the performance of all its contractors, including for outsourced services. That is carried out through the robust monitoring of contract performance indicators, with action being taken as appropriate when standards are not met.

Capita, which receives millions of pounds through MOD contracts, has consistently missed its recruitment and savings targets, yet it was handed a £500 million fire and rescue contract last year despite receiving a dire financial risk assessment. Following the Carillion fiasco, will the Minister recognise that this Government’s ideological commitment to outsourcing has caused needless precarity for MOD workers in my Lincoln constituency and across the UK?

In the wake of Carillion’s collapse, the Prime Minister commissioned a review of outsourcing, with which the MOD has engaged, that seeks to improve the public service outcomes and value for money of Government outsourcing. However, I gently point out to the hon. Lady that outsourcing also happened under the previous Labour Government.

The Minister will be aware that Members have offered scathing reviews of the Government’s no-deal Brexit outsourcing procurement decisions across portfolios. What no-deal outsourcing contracts has the MOD issued? Will the Minister ensure that there is a comprehensive review of procurement processes before he joins the Secretary of State for Transport in thrusting his Department into a Brexit procurement fiasco?

We work closely with all the companies to which we outsource, ensuring that we monitor their work and that they meet the standards that are expected of them. If they do not meet those standards, we will take the necessary action, and we have done so.

The Defence Fire Safety Regulator’s leaked report highlighted a catalogue of failures to manage fire safety in single-living accommodation. It appears that the estates contract that was outsourced to CarillionAmey does not include the inspection and maintenance of fire doors and fire escapes, which is a shocking omission that puts servicemen and women in an unacceptable situation. Will the Minister agree to carry out an immediate review of fire safety across all MOD sites and to implement the report’s recommendations in full? Will he also agree to halt the outsourcing of the defence fire and rescue service to Capita, which seems grossly irresponsible in the circumstances?

The Ministry of Defence takes the safety of its people and the findings of the report extremely seriously. We are committed to addressing the shortfalls identified in the report. We have already taken action on some of the recommendations, and we will continue to ensure that we implement the report’s other recommendations.