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Determining where we operate, what we do and who we serve

We support governments in delivering their public policy commitments, often in very sensitive areas. Our role is to deliver specific elements of those policies in the most effective, efficient and caring manner, working with our customers to maximise the value generated for society, in whose best interest those policies are developed.

Everything we do is motivated by our desire to be a trusted partner of governments, delivering superb public services that transform outcomes and make a positive difference for our fellow citizens. However, what we do – including where and how and who we serve – is also carefully governed by Serco – approached with conscience, caution and with uncompromising adherence to our Values and commitment to behave with integrity and treat people with respect.

Infographic of our Business Lifecycle decision-making governance structure

Infographic of our Business Lifecycle decision-making governance structure

We work to identify, create and earn business opportunities where we believe we can achieve an optimal balance of sustainable value creation for our stakeholders. Our potential involvement in activities on behalf of our customers is subjected to a rigorous process of review and qualification which seeks to enable transparent and well-informed decision-making, and seeks to ensure compliance with our strategy, Policies and Standards. It also aims to ensure due consideration of salient adverse impact risks, including those from environmental, social and governance (ESG) perspectives.

Our Business Lifecycle

Embedded within the Serco Management System (SMS) is our Business Lifecycle, which describes the core processes that apply throughout every business activity, from the identification of geographies and markets, business development and bidding, through operations and eventual closure of our contracts.

The Serco Business Lifecycle constitutes several stages which follow the maturity of any business opportunity, controlled through a series of ten mandatory governance Gates (Gates 0-9). Each Gate Review represents a key decision point and requires formal assessment and approval by senior management.

A set of governance themes is considered in Gate Reviews, including: material legal, ethical and human rights risks; health, safety and environment risks; and other salient adverse impact risks from an ESG perspective.

The requirements and spirit of the SMS must be met, including Policies, Standards and controls relevant to management of our principal areas of ESG responsibility and sustainability. A business opportunity that cannot satisfy such criteria will not be pursued.

Our Business Lifecycle decision-making governance

Our Business Lifecycle is supported by a robust governance framework and Delegated Authority Matrix which prescribes the level of oversight and approvals required.

Divisional Chief Executives establish a Business Lifecycle Review Team (BLR Team) to review opportunities. The BLR Team provides direction for each opportunity whilst ensuring appropriate governance and Gate authorisation throughout its lifecycle. BLR Teams are led by Divisional Chief Executives and comprise business and functional specialists whose collective experience and expertise seeks to ensure the opportunity is directed to an appropriate outcome, which includes ensuring compliance with Gate governance in accordance with the SMS.

Divisional Executive Management Teams provide oversight of the Business Lifecycle at the Divisional level. BLR Teams are responsible for determining whether a decision exceeds their Limits of Authority and requires scrutiny and oversight by the Investment Committee and/or the Serco Group plc Board.

The Investment Committee comprises the Group Chief Executive, the Group Chief Financial Officer, the Group General Counsel and Company Secretary and other members of the management team. It acts on behalf of the Board to review, monitor and approve bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals and other corporate activity within specific authority limits delegated by the Board.

Any decision exceeding the authority of the Investment Committee requires Serco Group plc Board review and approval.

Our Business Lifecycle decision-making tools

The SMS features several tools which directly support Business Lifecycle decision-making. These include:

  • Our New Country Due Diligence guidance – which prescribes the extent and depth of due diligence required for entry into a new country based on a range of service, customer and geographical criteria.

  • Our Human Rights Standard and supporting Human Rights Decision Tree procedure – which describes and enables the identification and assessment of any actual or potential Adverse Human Rights Impacts in which Serco might be or become involved, either through its own activities or business relationships.

  • Our Third Party Due Diligence processes and controls – which apply to customers, suppliers, agents and other third parties, and mergers and acquisitions, and enable assessment of whether a third party relationship will increase our exposure to ethical and legal liability.

Rebids, extensions and material contract variations

Decisions made are revisited at natural intervals in the contract lifecycle. Rebids, extensions and material contract variations are approached in the same way as new business opportunities. 

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