As the Deputy may be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions, including the provision and maintenance of accommodation for court sittings.
I am informed that no payments are made directly to G4S. The Deputy is aware that Criminal Courts of Justice complex was provided on the basis of a public private partnership contract covering the design, construction, fit out, maintenance and provision of services. Following an extensive procurement exercise, the Courts Service entered into a contract with a Public Private Partnership Company (PPPCo) in October 2007.
The Courts Service contract is therefore with the PPPCo which has sub-contracted various elements including the design and construction, as well as the provision of services, to a range of third party contractors. G4S is one of these subcontractors and has been contracted by the PPPCo to provide a range of facility management services in the Criminal Courts of Justice including maintenance, cleaning, security, health & safety, portering and management of utilities.
A monthly unitary charge payment which covers the provision of the above services by G4S in addition to payments for the design and construction of the Criminal Courts of Justice amounts to €1.6 million per month (VAT exclusive). Financing, insurance and ICT services are also covered by the unitary charge. In addition there are some items which are paid on a per usage basis. Therefore G4S receives a proportion of the above unitary charge payment. These contractual and financial arrangements between the PPPCo and its subcontractors are internal commercial matters for the PPPCo.
The contract provides that 43% of the unitary charge is subject to indexation based on the CPI each year. The contract runs until February 2035 at which time the complex will be handed over to the ownership of the Courts Service in a ‘as built’ standard.
It is worth noting that this PPP contract was dealt with in detail by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his 2008 Annual Report and was also examined by a sitting of the Public Accounts Committee of this House in July 2010.
I should also mention that, following the construction of the Criminal Courts of Justice, the Courts Service was able to cease leaseholds on various buildings in which courtrooms had been provided, including the Distillery Building, King's Inns, the old Richmond Hospital and Bow Street. In addition to the very considerable annual lease and rental costs, buildings also had to be maintained, cleaned and secured. Ongoing operational savings have also been made for other criminal justice agencies, including the Irish Prison Service and An Garda Síochána.