Press release

Next steps for prison competition

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

The latest stage of the competition for eight prisons and a new approach to competing the public prison estate were announced today.

HMP Northumberland (an amalgamation of the former HMPs Castington and Acklington) and the South Yorkshire group of Moorland, Hatfield and Lindholme prisons will proceed to the next stage with three remaining bidders, Sodexo, Serco and MTC/Amey. This competition process produced a compelling package of reforms for delivering cost reduction, improvements to regimes and a working prisons model in these prisons.

This was not the case for HMPs Coldingley, Durham and Onley, so the competition for these prisons is not proceeding and they will remain in the public sector. The current contract for HMP Wolds expires in July 2013 at which point the prison will move to public sector management.

The competition process has also identified further and faster ways of securing future cost reductions. All public sector prisons will be obliged to make additional efficiency savings and the prison service will make collective savings by competing ancillary services, such as maintenance and resettlement services.

The Ministry of Justice has estimated that these changes will generate £450m savings over the next six years.

Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling said:

‘The cost of running our prisons is too high and must be reduced. We can do this by being more innovative and efficient, and without compromising public safety.

‘That is why I have decided to take a new approach to how we compete prison services and reduce unit costs across the prison estate that will lead to better value for the tax-payer, linked to more effective services to reduce reoffending.

‘This is a challenge the public sector must rise to. The approach I am announcing today does not rule out further prison-by-prison competitions in the future.’

Notes to editors

  1. The competition for nine prisons started in July 2011. Combining HMPs Castington and Acklington into the newly-named HMP Northumberland reduces the number in the competition to eight.
  2. At the start of the competition process there were seven bidders: GEO, G4S, HMPS, Interserve, MTC/Amey, Serco and Sodexo.
  3. HMP Wolds was built by the public sector, opening in 1992, and has been run by G4S since then. The current contract expires in July 2013 when the prison will move to public sector management.
  4. For more details contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3518 or 3520.