G4S made £14m profit from scandal-hit Brook House removal centre | Politics

G4S made a gross profit of £14.3m over a six-year contract running an immigration removal centre that faced allegations of abuse against detainees, the government spending watchdog has revealed.

Brook House, near Gatwick airport, was the subject of a BBC Panorama exposé in September 2017 in which it was alleged that officials mocked, abused and assaulted detainees.

In March this year, the Commons home affairs committee asked the National Audit Office to investigate claims that G4S had been inaccurately reporting its activities in order to generate profits of up to 20% of revenues.

The NAO found G4s made a gross profit of £14.3m from its Brook House contract between 2012 and 2018, with gross profit rates of between 10% and 20% per year.

The watchdog said 84 incidents of physical and verbal abuse identified from the Panorama footage were not classified as a contractual breach and did not lead to any significant penalties. It said G4S’s profits fell when it started to spend more on delivering the contract after the Panorama broadcast.

Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs committee, said: “For G4S to be making up to 20% gross profits on the Brook House contract at the same time as such awful abuse by staff against detainees was taking place is extremely troubling.

“Given that profits reduced when G4S had to increase staffing and training after the Panorama programme, this raises very serious questions about G4S’s running of the centre to make higher profits whilst not having proper staffing, training, and safeguarding systems in place.”

She continued: “We asked the NAO to look into this contract because the Home Office would not give us complete information about it or about the way they were managing it. This report shows we were right to do so.

“The NAO’s findings call into serious question the Home Office’s management of this sensitive contract and raise real problems about the contract itself. They are right to say how worrying it is that Home Office monitoring did not reveal the gravity of the incidents taking place at Brook House.”

After the Panorama programme aired, the Home Office fined G4S £2,768 – less than 0.5% of the monthly fee – for eight incidents.

The Home Office now considers the contract, which was extended for two years in August 2018, to be “not fit for purpose” and is procuring a new contract to manage Brook House from 2020 to 2028.

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