News story

Ministers sign agreement for prisoners to supply armed forces with kit

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Defence Minister Philip Dunne signed a service level agreement last week .

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The service level agreement will see prisoners making sandbags and other support products for Britain’s armed forces [Picture: Sergeant M O'Neill RLC, Crown copyright]
The service level agreement will see prisoners making sandbags

The service level agreement (SLA) will see prisoners making sandbags, fence posts and other support products for Britain’s armed forces.

It is set to extend a 6-month trial that has already produced savings of nearly £500,000 and will see offenders learn valuable employment skills as the work is brought back to British shores.

Taxpayers are set to benefit from further savings after a 10-year SLA.

A number of the products were previously made overseas, while a number of items, such as hydraulic jacks, will now be able to be repaired rather than simply replaced.

As well as making significant savings, bringing back work to Britain and helping prisoners’ rehabilitation, the agreement will also be of great benefit to local businesses that supply materials to prisons such as HMP Coldingley.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling
Defence Minister Philip Dunne and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling signing the service level agreement [Picture: Crown copyright]

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support & Technology Philip Dunne said:

I was pleased to visit HMP Coldingley prison today to see the workshops in action and speak to the prison workforce supporting our armed forces.

During times of austerity we’re always looking at ways to be more efficient and this is a fantastic initiative.

The pilot projects have been very successful, so signing the agreement here today is a great step in widening the benefits for both departments and society as it will offer prisoners more opportunities to develop skills and prepare for employment when released.

The 10-year SLA was signed at Coldingley prison, and comes into force on 1 February.

Offenders across a number of prisons will start making the wide range of products, with the agreement able to be expanded to allow prisoners to make more products and services.

The agreement is the result of a year’s work between the departments with a 6-month trial seeing the prisons produce 17,375 fence posts, 3,950 edge protectors, 128 refurbished hydraulic jacks, 250 burner boxes and 20,000 sandbags.

Published 2 February 2015