Flagship government project awards contract to private tech firm
AN American owned private equity firm has been awarded a development contract for the new Scottish Social Security System (SSSS), CommonSpace can reveal.
PA Consulting were awarded the deal to develop systems that will help deliver benefits throughout Scotland when new powers are transferred from Westminster. The Scottish Government insist the contract was only for “early prototypes”.
SSSS will deliver 11 state benefits including Carers Allowance and Winter Fuel payments.
“I am very clear that assessments should not be carried out by the private sector and I want to give people in Scotland this assurance as we take forward our new social security agency.” Jeane Freeman MSP
The Scottish Government has said repeatedly that SSSS would not allow any private “for profit” companies to carry out benefit assessments. CommonSpace understands other social security contracts are currently going out to tender.
Commenting, Paul Spicker said X
The SSSS will be responsible for 15 per cent of the nation’s benefits in a flagship project that will see the new body control around £3 billion per year and employ around 1,500 staff.
Stating that it would put “people before profits” the government claim SSSS will take a “person-centred approach” to issuing benefits.
Addressing parliament earlier this year, Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman said: “One of our fundamental principles is that profit should never be a motive nor play any part in assessing or making decisions on people’s health and eligibility for benefits.
“We are building a system based on dignity and respect – this means an assessment process which isn’t demeaning or deliberately difficult.
“I am very clear that assessments should not be carried out by the private sector and I want to give people in Scotland this assurance as we take forward our new social security agency.
“It also means setting up an agency that has a local presence with a human face where people can go to get one-to-one support if required. This is very different to what exists at the moment.
PA Consulting are owned by American company The Carlisle Group, one of the largest private equity companies in the world.
Amongst their portfolio of investments are aerospace, defence and government service companies Atlas Aerospace and Combined Systems Inc.
“We have been clear that there is no room for private profit in the assessment of benefits and ruled out the use of private sector firms in the benefit assessment process.” Scottish Government
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “PA Consulting were not awarded a contract for running the Scottish social security system – it was for development activity related to early prototypes, as part of our desire to ensure a system that is co-designed and co-produced with service users.
“The contract was awarded using an existing Scottish Government framework, was for a fixed price and fixed duration, and had robust governance mechanisms in place.
“We have been clear that there is no room for private profit in the assessment of benefits and ruled out the use of private sector firms in the benefit assessment process.
“We remain committed to building our social security system with dignity and respect at its heart, and the 2,400 people with direct personal experience of the current benefits system who are now part of our experience panels will be integral to that work.”
PA Consulting said they were unable to comment on client confidential matters.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.
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