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Hm Prison Coldingley

Volume 597: debated on Wednesday 24 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the report on the internal audit of the contract between the Home Office and Wackenhut (UK) Ltd for the operation of industrial functions at Her Majesty's Prison Coldingley; and whether any disciplinary or criminal proceedings are to he taken against any individuals as a result of this audit. [HL1061]

The report by Prison Service Internal Audit on this matter is an internal management document, concerning actions which are the subject of a disciplinary investigation as well as issues which are subject to discussion with the contractor. It is not intended to publish it. The disciplinary investigation is being conducted by the Director of Dispersal Prisons, who will report back to the Director General of the Prison Service.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the light of experience at Her Majesty's Prison Coldingley, they still believe that contracting out industrial functions is the best way of getting over the rigidity of public sector rules on finance and personnel or whether those rules could be amended so as to allow capital to be raised for investment in plant, stocks, marketing and product development, whilst keeping operations under the control of the Prison Service. [HL1062]

Before contracting out, the industrial operation at Coldingley prison had operated at a significant loss. It was hoped that through contracting out management of the workshops, the contractor would be better placed to win additional external contracts and so move the operation into profit, which would have been shared with the Prison Service. During the contract the contractor was required to bear the losses. The contractor was unable to sustain the losses incurred, and terminated the contract, as it was entitled to do. The Prison Service has contracted out many other operations successfully, and will continue to look for opportunities to contract out, or enter into partnerships with the private sector, where this offers better value than the alternative.