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Prison Operations

Volume 570: debated on Friday 22 November 2013

Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House about the Ministry of Justice’s competition process for the South Yorkshire prisons, Hatfield, Moorland and Lindholme.

The House will recall that I made an announcement on 11 July 2013 where I outlined that the leading bidder for these prisons was Serco, but that the award of this contract would be delayed as a result of the investigations into Serco’s operations. The investigations remain ongoing.

The impact of the delay and the uncertainty this has created mean that for operational reasons we cannot postpone the outcome of the competition process any further. I have therefore decided that the competition for these prisons will cease and that all three prisons will be managed by HM Prison Service.

All of the South Yorkshire prisons will immediately become part of the ongoing process of applying a new public sector benchmark. This process is delivering swift reforms and impressive savings across the public sector prison estate. All HM Prison Service managed prisons are significantly reducing unit costs, improving outcomes and delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

This approach provides a workable solution and in the circumstances is the best possible option both for the prisons involved and for the public.

The Ministry of Justice, and the Government as a whole, remain fully committed to a mixed market for public services, drawing on the best of public, private and voluntary providers to improve quality and secure value for money for the taxpayer.