Press release

Prisons competition and capacity announcement

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

A competition strategy for the management of nine prisons and the closure of two prison sites has been announced today.

In the autumn the management of HMPs Lindholme, Moorland, Hatfield, The Wolds, Acklington, Castington, Durham, Onley and Coldingley will be subject to competition. The Wolds is a prison currently run by G4S that has come to the end of its current contract; the other eight prisons are public sector establishments being competed for the first time. The prisons have been selected by the National Offender Management Service to balance the need to increase efficiency and to make real the policy intent of the department’s Green Paper, Breaking The Cycle.

HMP Latchmere House and HMP Brockhill will close in September. This will see a reduction of 377 prison spaces. This is part of an overall programme which includes a further 2,500 new prison places becoming available over the next 12 months. The closure of these places will provide estimated cost savings of £4.9m this year and an on-going annual saving of £11.4m. We expect to be able to absorb staff displaced by this process elsewhere in the system and to avoid the use of compulsory redundancies.

Our approach to competition within Offender Services, and to changes to the prison estate, is an important part of our strategy to improve the efficiency and value for money of our services.

Decisions about which prisons were selected for competition or closure was based on a wide range of criteria including the potential for efficiency improvements, service reform and innovation, not on the basis of poor performance.

Changes resulting from the competition and capacity announcements will not compromise public safety or reduce the quality of our services - we will always ensure there are sufficient prison places for offenders sentenced to custody by the courts.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke said:

‘The public have a right to expect continuing improvement in the quality and efficiency of public services, without compromising public safety. The competition strategy and adjustments to the prison estate will help ensure that this is the case.’

Read the competition strategy for offender services

Notes to Editors

  1. Lindholme, Moorland, Hatfield and The Wolds are in Yorkshire; Acklington and Castington are in Northumberland; Durham is in County Durham; Onley is in Northamptonshire; Coldingley is in Surrey; Latchmere House is in West London; Brockhill, which forms part of the clustered Hewell prisons, is in the West Midlands.
  2. On 13 January 2011 the Secretary of State for Justice announced the closure of HMP Lancaster Castle and HMP Ashwell prisons and the change of use of HMP Morton Hall to an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).
  3. The last round of prison competitions was completed in March 2011, with four contracts awarded: * HMP Birmingham will be run by G4S * HMP Buckley Hall will be run by HM Prison Service * HMP Doncaster will be run by Serco * The new prison, Featherstone 2 will be run by G4S
  4. For further information, contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 0203 334 3520 / 3518