Probation union Napo has urged the Government to cancel contracts with two private firms for running facilities management of the probation estate.
They have argues it is 20% to 30% more expensive than if the work was sourced locally by trusts, and is also receiving many complaints about the service.
Staff travelling nearly 200 miles to clean windows and 110 miles to change light bulbs are among complaints made against a privatised probation services contract, it has emerged.
For the fourth year running, Napo has produced a dossier of complaints against contractors Mitie and Interserve, including examples of contractors travelling more than 100 miles from Norwich to Leicester to unblock toilets.
The facilities management of the probation estate, which includes around 100 hostels and thousands of offices, was privatised in 2005 by the then Labour administration.
As well as contractors travelling lengthy journeys for smaller jobs and repairs, significant larger repairs have been subjected to “unacceptable” delays, Napo said. Boilers have broken down, cookers have been faulty and hallways have not been cleaned, the union said.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:
All contracts with the private sector go through a strict competitive tender process and are scrutinised to ensure they are cost effective.
As part of our commitment to reform probation services, we will be reviewing these contracts to provide taxpayers with the best value for money.
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