Serco Group

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Serco Group plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSESRP
Industry Government Services
Founded 1929
Headquarters Hook, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Key people Alastair Lyons (Chairman)
Rupert Soames (CEO)
Revenue £4,288.1 million (2013)[1]
Operating income £234.3 million (2013)[1]
Net income £95.4 million (2013)[1]
Employees 100,000 (2013)[2]

Serco Group plc is a British[3] government services company based in Hook, Hampshire. Among its operations are public and private transport and traffic control, aviation, military and nuclear weapons contracts, detention centres and prisons and schools. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


Serco was founded in 1929 as a United Kingdom division of the Radio Corporation of America and initially provided services to the cinema industry.[4] It changed its name to Serco in 1987[4] and has been a London Stock Exchange listed company since 1988.[4]

On 29 December 2008, Serco completed its acquisition of SI International.[5]

Serco is one of the 55 contractors hired by United States Department of Health and Human Services to work on the web site.[6]


Serco operates in various sectors:

  • Home Affairs: Serco operates the National Border Targeting Centre for the UK Border Agency and provides the Carrier Gateway – the interface between carriers and the Agency.[7]
  • Aviation: Serco provides air traffic control services at international airports in the United Arab Emirates[42] and at some smaller airports in the USA and Canada.[43][44] Since 2004 Serco have also had £5m a year from the US government to manage airports in Iraq.[45] Serco also operate Scatsta Airport on Shetland.[46] In June 2010 Serco signed a £4million contract to operate all air traffic control services for Coventry Airport.[47]
  • Health in the USA: In July 2013 Serco was awarded a $1.25 billion contract to manage the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[54]
  • Education: Serco holds a 10-year contract with Bradford City Council to manage and operate the local education authority,[55] providing education support services to the City's schools, and similarly manages and operates Walsall[56] and Stoke-on-Trent local education authorities.[57] Serco is one of Ofsted's three Regional Inspection Service Providers, responsible for school inspections in the English Midlands.[58] Serco is also the provider of a Student information system, Facility, used in schools and colleges in several countries.[59]
  • Drivers' licensing: Serco, through a purpose-made division Serco DES, holds a 10-year, $114 million contract with the Province of Ontario to operate the province's DriveTest driver examination centres. These tests include vision, road, and knowledge tests for all persons seeking to become a licensed automobile driver in the province.[43]
  • Serco also administers a number of publicly funded websites in the UK, including the Business Link website.[61]
  • Serco publishes a magazine, Ethos Journal, to stimulate thought and provoke reaction to the big issues shaping the world of public services. Ethos is aimed at public sector leaders, politicians, academics and policy specialists debating the future of public services today.[64]
  • Serco operates waste collection services for local councils.[65]
  • Serco operates in Continental Europe, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region and North America, but the majority of its turnover still comes from the UK.


The Union of Christmas Island Workers highlighted the systemic failure by Serco to manage the Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Centre. The centre detains a large number of refugees including 1,000 children.[66] Under Serco, there has been an increase of deaths in custody, self-harm, and of Serco staff beating prisoners. As well, there has been a deterioration of facilities leading to the decline of the physical and the mental health of detainees and of staff. Ombudsman Allan Asher on the Australian radio show AM said, "In the first week of June when I visited Christmas Island, more than 30 incidents of self-harm by detainees held there were reported."[66] Serco, in a staged memo leaked to The Australian, blamed the detainees for "creating a culture of self-harm," in order to use it as a "bargaining tool."[66] The former manager of the Serco run detention centre stated the centre was grossly understaffed whereby it was "typically 15 staff members short every day."[66]

In health services, Serco's difficulties include the poor handling of pathology labs and fatal errors in patient records. At St Thomas' Hospital, the increase in the number of clinical incidents arising from Serco non-clinical management has resulted in patients receiving incorrect and infected blood, as well as patients suffering kidney damage due to Serco providing incorrect data used for medical calculations.[67] A Serco employee later revealed that the company had falsified 252 reports to the National Health Service regarding Serco health services in Cornwall.[68]

In September 2013, Serco was accused of extensive sexual abuse cover-ups of immigrants at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre prison in Bedfordshire, England [69]

It emerged in November 2013, Serco, which won a contract for Suffolk Community Healthcare in 2012, had 72 vacancies after earlier cutting 137 posts. Problems identified by Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group include “staff capacity, skill mix, workload, succession planning and morale, training, communication, mobile working, care co-ordination centre processes, incidents and near miss incidents”.[70]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Serco: At a glance
  3. ^ "Where We Operate". Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "History". Serco. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Hubler, David (30 December 2008). "Serco wraps up SI International buy". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  6. ^ USAtoday, front page October 24, 2013, “Hot seat for stealth website builders
  7. ^ Government snared in fight over scrapped £742m e-Borders contract
  8. ^ "Transport for London: Franchise". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  9. ^ Serco to operate Woolwich Ferry Services[dead link]
  10. ^ Hill, Dave (12 August 2009). "Boris Johnson bike hire scheme: and the winner is". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Serco confirmed as Northern Isles ferry operator". UK: BBC News. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Australia's Great Train Journeys
  13. ^ The Ghan – Australia on line
  14. ^ "Department for Transport: Serco NedRailways announced as Preferred Bidder". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  15. ^ Serco preferred bidder for Dubai metro operations contract[dead link], Railway Gazette International 2007-06-19. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  16. ^ Milanese run København Metro[dead link], Railway Gazette International 2008-01-08. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  17. ^ Shah, Saeed (21 February 2001). "Serco to run Britain's first traffic control unit". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "Managing NPL". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  19. ^ "National Physical Laboratory". Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  20. ^ Contract News Update
  21. ^ New management team takes over at National Nuclear Lab
  22. ^ Home Office: Electronic tagging
  23. ^ Paterson, Craig. "Virtual Private Prisons". Corporate Watch. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  24. ^ "Home Office: Yarls Wood". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  25. ^ "Home Office: Colnbrook". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  26. ^ "Wackenhut Corrections wins prisoner escort contract". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  27. ^ "Prison Privatisation". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  28. ^ "Department of Corrective Services: Acacia Prison Contract". Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "Government of Australia: Criminal Justice System". 30 June 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  30. ^ Private contractor Serco to run detention centres Crikey, 1 July 2009
  31. ^ Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit The New York Times, 28 September 2011
  32. ^ "Serco says Mt Eden prison contract worth $300M". NZ News UK. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  33. ^ New private prison at Wiri given green light, The New Zealand Herald, 8 March 2012
  34. ^ Terry Macalister (2 September 2004). "PFI deals help Serco to record order book of £10bn". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  35. ^ "Airport of Embarkation". 18 March 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  36. ^ a b c "Serco Business Review Page 20" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  37. ^ Serco Sodexho and the real story about work choices
  38. ^ "Defence Academy". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  39. ^ Harrison, Michael (21 June 2001). "BNFL consortium seeks 15-year extension to Aldermaston contract". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  40. ^ "Dstl Inspire Contract release". Serco. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  41. ^ "Marine Services". Serco. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  42. ^ Serco – Middle East
  43. ^ a b Serco – North America
  44. ^ Goose Bay Airport – Control Tower services
  45. ^ Terry Macalister (3 March 2004). "Serco wins Iraqi Air Traffic Deal". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  46. ^ "Scatsta Airport control tower not fit for purpose". Shetland Times. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  47. ^ Coventry Airport Gears Up For Business Coventry Airport, 15 June 2010
  48. ^ "Private Finance Initiative – Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital" (PDF). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  49. ^ "Leicester Royal Infirmary: Hospital Cleaning". Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  50. ^ Krissy Storrar (25 February 2006). "So you thought it was Tony and Gordon in charge?". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  51. ^ "New company vows to clean up Derriford Hospital". 3 June 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  52. ^ "Serco and Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust sign pioneering pathology partnership". 30 January 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  53. ^ "Serco to lose out-of-hours GP services and hospital management contracts". The Guardian. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  54. ^ "Obama Administration Defends Serco, Firm With $1.2 Billion Obamacare Contract, Amid U.K. Probe". 16 July 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  55. ^ Catcheside, Kim (10 November 2003). "Bradford: Concerns about education privatisation". BBC News. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  56. ^ "Chris Hyman: Can Serco take over the World?". The Independent (UK). 2 September 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  57. ^ Best school in town and still they want to close it Ed Caesar The Sunday Times 11 November 2007
  58. ^ "New inspection contracts signed" (Press release). Ofsted. 25 March 2009. 
  59. ^ "A window opens on pupils' progress". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  60. ^ "Serco picks agency to help it beef up marketing". Marketing Week. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  61. ^ "Enlightenlive". Enlightenlive. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  62. ^ "Southwark voluntary and community groups to receive PCs from serco". 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  63. ^ "Serco Inc. Secures Two Contract Renewals from the City of Chicago". Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  64. ^ "EthosJournal". Serco. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  65. ^ "Breckland contractors". Breckland District Council. 07/09/2012. 
  66. ^ a b c d O'Keeffe, Patrick. "Nightmare on Christmas Island: Serco's Australian Detention Center". CorpWatch. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  67. ^ Ramesh, Randeep. "NHS lab failings followed Serco-led takeover". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  68. ^ Lawrence, Felicity. "Serco gave NHS false data about its GP service 252 times". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  69. ^ Detainees at Yarls Wood Immigration Centre facing sexual abuse, The Observer, Mark Townsend, 14 September 2013, Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  70. ^ Serco seeks NHS help to fill vacancies, Health Service Journal, 20 November 2013 , Retrieved 22 November 2013.

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