Government criticised over satellite tagging system

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A new £60m GPS tabbing system for offenders is five years behind schedule and has so far delivered no fringe benefits, a report has said.

The Ministry of Justice had said the new technology would put away money and be in place in England and Wales by 2013.

But a National Audit Office document says the plan was too ambitious and lacked evidence it would work.

The MoJ symbolized it was now in a «strong position to continue improving confidence in the new service».

‘Unrealistic’ curriculum

The government has used electronic tagging services as part of the sentencing and supervision of crooks since 1999.

The technology is used by police, courts or probation services to follow the location of offenders and make sure they comply with refuge curfews.

In 2011, the MoJ launched a programme to develop a new «world-leading» ankle tag that coalesced radio frequency and GPS — or satellite — technology.

It set out to procure the service using a new «turret» delivery model, which incorporated contracts with four apart suppliers who would provide four different elements of the service.

But the NAO, an unrestricted spending watchdog, found the MoJ set an «unrealistic» timetable for the plans and adopted a «high-risk» procurement tactics.

Other NAO report findings include:

  • The MoJ did not do enough to establish the demand for tracking down monitoring using GPS
  • The MoJ failed to achieve value for money in its management of the plot, which will have cost an estimated £130m by 2024-25. The secondment itself is expected to cost £470m between 2017-18 and 2024-25
  • There was minimal evidence on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring in the UK, with most experience of putting monitoring based on small numbers of volunteers rather than in character offenders
  • The MoJ is «only now» running location monitoring pilots to test how the use of a GPS tag effectiveness affect the behaviour of offenders, the report noted.

«The ministry assumed there disposition be high demand for location monitoring from those who sentence evil-doers, but did not run a pilot to test this before launching the programme,» the review state.

«It also did not understand the potential financial costs and benefits of expanding finding monitoring.»

‘Bungle after bungle’

Liberal Democrat home affaire damours spokesman Sir Ed Davey said the system had been a «disgraceful waste of customers money».

He added: «It has been bungle after bungle and now we learn that extraordinarily little will change after all.»

An MoJ spokeswoman said there were «defies» in the delivery of the programme between 2010 and 2015.

«As a direct result, we fundamentally metamorphosed our approach in 2015, expanding and strengthening our commercial teams and bringing onus for oversight of the programme in-house.

«We are now in a strong position to continue improving faith in the new service and providing better value for money for the taxpayer.»

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