By Just Fair

The Ministry of Justice has been forced to take back immediate control of the Birmingham prison from private contractor G4S after an inspection found that there was “abject failure of contract management and delivery” leading to prison standards dropping to such a level that violence, substance abuse, and extreme squalor were rife.

Whilst privatisation of public services is not prohibited the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, there should be strong regulations in place to establish and monitor “public service obligations”.

As established by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment No. 24 (2017), “States retain at all times the obligation to regulate private actors to ensure that the services they provide are accessible to all, are adequate, are regularly assessed in order to meet the changing needs of the public and are adapted to those needs”.

The government must learn the lesson from this failure and ensure the private delivery of public services guarantees an adequate protection of economic and social rights for everyone with no discrimination.

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