MPs to investigate Serco over sex assault claim at Yarl’s Wood centre
Firm forced to disclose secret internal report as Keith Vaz says he is ‘shocked’ by events at immigration detention centre.
Serco, the private outsourcing giant, is to be investigated by MPs after it was forced to disclose a secret internal report revealing evidence that it failed to properly investigate a claim of repeated sexual assaults by one of its staff against a female resident at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.
The document, which was marked confidential, was made public last week following a four-month legal battle between Serco and Guardian News and Media. Lawyers said the report demonstrates a culture of disbelief towards women inside the detention centre, which is run by Serco, and hailed the high court’s decision forcing Serco to disclose the document as a victory for greater transparency.
The revelation comes a day after it was disclosed that Serco could be among companies to take over the running of privatised children’s social services, including child protection, under proposals being considered by Michael Gove’s Department for Education.
Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said the report’s revelations were “shocking” and warned he would be summoning senior Serco figures to parliament next month for them to explain their actions.
The report details an investigation into the claims of a 29-year-old woman from Pakistan that she was sexually assaulted three times at Yarl’s Wood by a Serco health worker between November 2010 and January 2011.