I was interested to read the article - Iraq Links Probed (March 2 2011) - particularly because I am responsible for carrying out the census, not the company called CACI which was mentioned in the article. CACI (UK) Ltd (a UK-registered company which is not involved in defence or intelligence contracts) is one of several contractors appointed by my department to help us deliver Scotland's Census in order to achieve best value for the taxpayer.
The article highlighted unproven allegations - made seven years ago - of mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison by CACI (UK) Ltd's parent company CACI International.
My department is fundamentally committed to ethical conduct and would never have any dealings with a company convicted of human rights abuse.
These allegations remain unsubstantiated, the company strongly denies them and, under European procurement rules, we are not allowed to exclude bidders because they have a US parent company or because of unproven allegations.
The article quotes the website of Scotland Against Criminalising Communities which has called for the census to be rescheduled, boycotted or false information provided to protest at the contract with CACI (UK) Ltd. Rescheduling the census would involve substantial cost to the taxpayer (because CACI (UK) Ltd would require to be compensated, and the work which it has done would have to be replicated by another contractor) and would deprive Scotland in the meantime of the information which the census collects. The census is the only way of doing a complete count of Scotland's population and its completeness and accuracy is of great importance to many people in Scotland. If the census misses anyone, people across Scotland - including Clydebank - will lose out, because the census's population figures play a big part in the Scottish Government's allocation of money to local councils and the NHS and because councils and many other bodies depend on census information to help them take decisions on where services like schools, houses and supermarkets should be located.
Duncan Macniven, registrar general for Scotland