Just Solutions International, the controversial commercial venture set up to export UK justice expertise, made a net loss of around £1.1m during its brief existence, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.
The Ministry of Justice announced in September last year that it was closing the commercial arm of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), set up in 2012.
The NAO said today that, following September’s announcement, it received correspondence ‘raising concerns around the transparency of JSi’s activities and requesting that we investigate’.
Publishing its key findings, the NAO said that the total income generated by JSi was less than £1m. The cost of setting up JSi exceeded the income generated by completed contracts.
The NAO estimated that JSi’s costs were approximately £2.1m from 2012 until its closure, including £239,000 on consultancy services.
‘Therefore JSi made a net loss of approximately £1.1m in this period. This is due, in part, to the decision to withdraw from prospective arrangements with Saudi Arabia and Oman.’
The NAO said it also noted that had JSi not been created, NOMS ‘would have committed funding to support wider international engagement with countries to support Foreign & Commonwealth Office and wider government objectives’.
In October justice secretary Michael Gove announced that the government was withdrawing a bid to advise the prison service in Saudi Arabia (pictured) following concerns about the country’s human rights record. The NAO said this decision incurred no financial penalties.
It said JSi was now closed and that NOMS ‘does not plan to perform further work for overseas governments on a commercial basis’.