PAC slams incompetent vetting agency contract

Link: Ineffective controls at Criminal Records Bureau

Capita won the contract after outbidding a tender from PricewaterhouseCoopers by submitting an offer of £250m over ten years compared with PwC’s bid of £400m.

However, because the Capita bid was based on Home Office assumptions that 70-85% of applications would be by telephone rather than in writing – and exactly the opposite happened – the cost of the contract has risen to £400m.

This for a slower service, delivered a year late and providing less than had been promised, MPs said.

PwC had estimated that 40% of applications would be on paper and 60% by telephone.

Jon Trickett, a Labour member of the PAC said that Home Office officials had ignored warnings about the contract. ‘It had to be one of the most incompetently let contracts this committee has seen, certainly since I have been on it,’ he said.

The Times reported Trickett as saying that both Capita and the Home Office had made assumptions about the number of applications that would be received on paper which were ‘hopelessly optimistic’.

‘We got the highest tender rather than the lowest in the end,’ he added.

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