British Security Firm G4S Faces Prison Abuse Allegations
G4S was subject to a ban on being considered for UK public contracts because of the electronic tagging scandalReuters

A moratorium on scandal-hit G4S winning public contracts in the UK has been lifted by the government.

G4S was engulfed by the electronic tagging scandal that emerged in mid-2013.

It was discovered that the outsourcing and security giant had been overcharging UK taxpayers on its Ministry of Justice contract to carry out the electronic tagging of offenders.

The firm is still under criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and it has agreed to repay £108.9m to the government.

The government said it would not consider G4S for new public contracts until it was satisfied that the company's culture and processes had changed after a number of scandals of which the electronic tagging debacle was the latest.

As a result, G4S embarked on a "corporate renewal" programme to refresh itself.

"The changes G4S has already made and its commitment to go further over coming months are positive steps that the government welcomes," said Cabinet Secretary Francis Maude, announcing that the firm

"However, corporate renewal is an ongoing process and the government places a strong emphasis on their full and timely implementation of the agreed corporate renewal plan."

G4S said it has now consolidated all of its UK government contracts into one department and put them under new leadership.

"We are pleased that the government has given a positive assessment of the steps we have taken to rebuild their confidence in our services," said Ashley Almanza, chief executive of G4S.

"Our UK renewal programme forms part of a wider programme of change to strengthen the governance and performance of the Group as a whole and, while significant progress has been made, much remains to be done.

"Today's ministerial statement marks an important milestone in rebuilding our relationship with the UK government."

G4S has been at the centre of a number of damaging scandals in recent years. One of the most high profile failures was on its contract to provide security staff to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Just weeks before the event was to start G4S had to admit that it was unable to provide enough staff to cope with the Games. The government was forced to call in the Army to help and G4S had to pay millions of pounds in compensation for breaching its contract.