Ministers 'sneak out' proposals to privatise collection of court fines


The Government has been accused of "sneaking out" controversial plans to privatise the collection of court fines.

Staff have been told of plans to outsource work currently carried out by around 150 civil servants across England and Wales.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service said it was in talks with "providers", adding that the move would save millions of pounds.

But the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) opposed the change, warning that any private company given the work would want to make savings, which could affect jobs.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The last time ministers tried to do something similar it ended up costing taxpayers £8 million before being abandoned, now they're trying to avoid scrutiny by sneaking it out during the summer holiday.

"This work is highly sensitive and should remain in-house instead of being handed to private bailiffs whose motive is profit."

A Courts & Tribunals Service spokesman said: "We take the recovery and enforcement of court fines very seriously and it is vital that offenders either pay or are brought back before the court.

"While no decisions have been made, we are in discussion with providers to extend the work of approved enforcement agencies which would save the taxpayer more than £18 million over the next five years."