Cornwall Council Shared Services: Companies with a shadowy past, Pt 2

Yesterday’s blog on the past dealings of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), and their involvement with the process of Rendition was certainly an eye-opener. It maybe in the past, but a massive concern is CSC have not ruled out doing the same in the future. Which as I said before, should be of interest to Cornwall Council.

I decided to contact Reprieve asking for further information and there have been more than helpful in answering my questions and request for further information. So much so, they told me they had even written to the Leader of Cornwall Council highlighting CSC past. They did this on the 4th of August, and got an acknowledgement reply. Though over three-weeks later no further letter answering Reprieves questions has been forthcoming. You would think the council would be quick to respond to such an important letter?

It is of further concern, that the full council will be debating the issue of shared services this coming Tuesday (4th) and you would think this information would be relevant to the debate. Sadly, I have seen nothing in any of the documentation that would show one bidder has this history. Though it could be argued the debate is on the principle of shared services, not the companies that might be involved. However, I still this it is relevant to know who you are getting into bed with.

It leads me to think there is far more that is being kept from backbenchers in this process. I wish just once, backbench Councillors would be kept inform of important facts. After all, 123 Councillors have been elected to Cornwall Council to serve the people. It is only right all Councillors are given the facts.

Furthermore, questions must be asked to how much checking Cornwall Council did when short-listing the two bidders? A simple search online highlights CSC past, surely Cornwall Council carried out a more detailed search than using Google. Sadly, it does not look like it, or if the council did, decided to ignore that fact CSC had these past dealings.

The only sensible thing that now should be done is the entire share services agenda should be pulled, or stopped completely.

Below is the letter to the Leader of Cornwall Council and details of three ‘rendition missions’

Letter to Leader:

 

And here are three Rendition Missions:

Rendition Mission: N982RK, 8-11 June 2004

CSC’s Romania Missions

Rendition Mission: N982RK, 25-29 May 2004

 

Cornwall Council Shared Services: Companies with a shadowy past

The Cabinet’s recent decision (I would like to say folly) to start the process of Invite to Tenders (ItT) with two companies, British Telecom and Computer Science Corporation (CSC), both multi-billion pound companies. But how much do we really understand about these companies. Do they have any skeletons in their wardrobe? Well, Computer Science Corporation has one or two.

A little digging around on the internet for research on other councils who have gone down the process of shared services, I came upon Reprieve. A few clicks on their webpage and I came across an article on CSC. In that article it shows a company brought by CSC  became involved with the renditions, secret detention and torture programme through its purchase of DynCorp in March 2003. Reading this, I let out a few expletives. The link to the whole article is HERE.

Granted this was many years ago, and from the Reprieve article, CSC sold DynCorp in 2004.  However, again in the article, CSC continued dealing with security organisations until 2006. You could argue this was a long-time ago and has no relevance to the possibility of Cornwall Council going into ‘partnership’ with this company.

The real worrying part of it all, and should be of concern to Cornwall Council, is CSC stance when Reprieve wrote to them in March 2012 asking them to sign a Zero Tolerance for Torture Pledge. Sadly, CSC has refused to do this, and sent a letter to confirm this.

So if Cornwall picks CSC as the preferred suppler of  providing services, the council could find the company it is in partnership with takes an active part in renditions, secret detention and torture.  It certainly take the whole argument of ethical investment to a whole new level! In fact a whole new stratosphere!

My question is; does Cornwall Council know about CSC past. Furthermore,  what inquiries/investigations has Cornwall Council carried out to make sure the council is protected from any fallout ‘if’ CSC gets involved again with renditions? If Cornwall Council knew, why have Councillors not been informed? As from the paperwork I have read, there is no mention of anything like this!

A huge and special thank go to Reprieve for their good work in highlighting this issue!