Message from the Registrar General

Thank you for your e-mail below to the Deputy First Minister.  I am replying, because I am responsible for running the census in Scotland.

The contract that you mention – which is actually with CACI (UK) Ltd, a subsidiary of CACI – was let in 2008 following a competition under European procurement rules, as public bodies are required to do.  These rules do not allow us to exclude bidders because they have a US parent, or because of unproven allegations against a sister company.  CACI (UK) Ltd does not provide services to the defence or intelligence sectors.  Its US parent formerly provided interrogation services for the US army in Iraq – but has always made clear that it does not condone, tolerate or endorse any illegal behaviour by its employees and that it deplores any abuse of human rights.  The allegations made 7 years ago have not been substantiated and are strongly denied by the company.  Under Scottish law as well as European procurement rules, a company (like any other individual) is innocent until proved guilty.  My department would never have any dealings with a company convicted of human rights abuse.  Our interest is to carry out the census in a way which accords with the law and which gives best value for the taxpayer and we believe that the contract with CACI (UK) Ltd does so.

Cancellation of the contract would be damaging to the Scottish taxpayer and to the many users of the information which flows from the census.  Census Day is on 27 March and our 6,000+ field staff have recently started delivering questionnaires to every household.  We would have to abort that work and pay compensation to CACI (UK) Ltd if we cancelled the contract.  That would also delay the publication of long-awaited census statistics.  The census is the only way of doing a complete count of Scotland’s population, and its completeness and accuracy is of great importance not only to Government bodies but also to individuals and community groups who want to know more about their area, and groups like the growing Muslim community in Scotland which want to know more about the size and characteristics of people in their community.

Yours sincerely
Duncan Macniven
Registrar General for Scotland
General Register Office for Scotland

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